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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File URL: https://www.sv.uio.no/econ/english/research/unpublished-works/working-papers/pdf-files/2009/Memo-04-2009.pdf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
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. Shaohua Chen & Ravallion, Martin, 2000. "How did the world's poorest fare in the 1990s ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2409, The World Bank.
  3. Jo Thori Lind, 2007. "Fractionalization and Inter-Group Differences," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 123-139, 02.
  4. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2001. "Growth is good for the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2587, The World Bank.
  5. Thon, Dominique, 1982. "An axiomatization of the Gini coefficient," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 131-143, March.
  6. Jagdish Bhagwati, 1958. "Immiserizing Growth: A Geometrical Note," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(3), pages 201-205.
  7. 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.
  8. Esteban, J. & Ray, D., 1993. "On the Measurement of Polarization," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 221.93, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  9. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  10. Jean-Yves Duclos & Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2004. "Polarization: Concepts, Measurement, Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(6), pages 1737-1772, November.
  11. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-766, May.
  12. Kolm, Serge-Christophe, 1976. "Unequal inequalities. I," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 416-442, June.
  13. 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.
  14. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  15. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1983. "Ranking Income Distributions," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(197), pages 3-17, February.
  16. Amartya Sen, 1976. "Real National Income," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(1), pages 19-39.
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