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Measuring polarization by reduced-form indices


  • Satya R. Chakravarty

    () (Indian Statistical Institute)

  • Bhargav Maharaj

    (Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandira, Belur, India)


An abbreviated or reduced-form monotonic polarization index is an increasing function of the between-group term and a decreasing function of the within-group term of a population subgroup decomposable inequality index. The between-group term represents the „identification? component of polarization and the within-group term can be regarded as an inverse indicator of the „alienation? component of polarization. An ordering for ranking alternative distributions of income using such polarizations indices has been developed. Several polarization indices of the said type have been characterized using intuitively reasonable axioms. Finally, we also consider the dual problem of retrieving the inequality index from the specified form of a polarization index.

Suggested Citation

  • Satya R. Chakravarty & Bhargav Maharaj, 2009. "Measuring polarization by reduced-form indices," Working Papers 135, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  • Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2009-135

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Polarization; ordering; axioms; indices; characterization; duality.;

    JEL classification:

    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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