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Miserly Developments

  • Lind, Jo Thori

    ()

    (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)

  • Moene, Karl O.

    ()

    (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)

In many countries extreme poverty is unnecessary. Yet it persists. We propose a simple index, denoted the Miser index, to measure the extent to which societies have poverty in the midst of affluence. It builds on the generalized Lorenz curve, but can also be seen as a measure of polarization between the rich and the poor. We calculate the index for a number of developing and emerging economies and rank them according to their revealed miserliness. We also identify important correlates of the Miser index. Countries that score high on the index tend to be socially fractionalized, bureaucratically inefficient, and politically corrupt. They provide their citizens with a low level of health care and education. Democracy and high growth rates do not moderate miserliness. Finally, considering the world as a single entity, we find a dramatic rise in global miserliness over the last 30 years.

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File URL: https://www.sv.uio.no/econ/english/research/unpublished-works/working-papers/pdf-files/2009/Memo-04-2009.pdf
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Paper provided by Oslo University, Department of Economics in its series Memorandum with number 04/2009.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 28 Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2009_004
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, University of Oslo, P.O Box 1095 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway
Phone: 22 85 51 27
Fax: 22 85 50 35
Web page: http://www.oekonomi.uio.no/indexe.html
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  1. Kolm, Serge-Christophe, 1976. "Unequal inequalities. II," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 82-111, August.
  2. Kolm, Serge-Christophe, 1976. "Unequal inequalities. I," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 416-442, June.
  3. Chen, Shaohua & Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "How Did the World's Poorest Fare in the 1990s?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 47(3), pages 283-300, September.
  4. Jean-Yves Duclos & Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2003. "Polarization: Concepts, Measurement, Estimation," Working Papers 46, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  5. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
  6. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2002. " Growth Is Good for the Poor," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 195-225, September.
  7. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1983. "Ranking Income Distributions," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(197), pages 3-17, February.
  8. Thon, Dominique, 1982. "An axiomatization of the Gini coefficient," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 131-143, March.
  9. Kanbur, Ravi & Mukherjee, Diganta, 2007. "Poverty, Relative to the Ability to Eradicate It: An Index of Poverty Reduction Failure," Working Papers 126998, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  10. Jo Thori Lind, 2007. "Fractionalization and Inter-Group Differences," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 123-139, 02.
  11. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1994. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 819-51, July.
  12. Cowell, F.A., 2000. "Measurement of inequality," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 87-166 Elsevier.
  13. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  14. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
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