IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

On the Measurement of Dissimilarity and Related Orders

  • Francesco Andreoli


    (Université de Cergy-Pontoise, THEMA; ESSEC Business School, Cergy-Pontoise; University of Verona)

  • Claudio Zoli


    (University of Verona)

We consider populations partitioned into groups, whose members are distributed across a finite number of classes such as, for instance, types of occupation, residential locations, social status of fathers, levels of education, health or income. Our aim is to assess the dissimilarity between the patterns of distributions of the different groups. These evaluations are relevant for the analysis of multi-group segregation, socioeconomic mobility, equalization of opportunity and discrimination. We conceptualize the notion of dissimilarity making use of reasonable transformations of the groups' distributions, based on sequences of transfers and exchanges of population masses across classes and/or groups. Our analysis clarifies the substantial differences underlying the concept of dissimilarity when applied to ordered or to permutable classes. In both settings, we illustrate the logical connections of dissimilarity evaluations with matrix majorization preorders, and provide equivalent implementable criteria to test unambiguous reductions in dissimilarity. Furthermore, we show that inequality evaluations can be interpreted as special cases of dissimilarity assessments and discuss relations with concepts of segregation and discrimination.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality in its series Working Papers with number 274.

in new window

Length: 56 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2012-274
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Le Breton, Michel & Michelangeli, Alessandra & Peluso, Eugenio, 2012. "A stochastic dominance approach to the measurement of discrimination," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(4), pages 1342-1350.
  2. Hutchens, Robert M., 1991. "Segregation curves, Lorenz curves, and inequality in the distribution of people across occupations," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 31-51, February.
  3. Grant, Simon & Kajii, Atsushi & Polak, Ben, 1998. "Intrinsic Preference for Information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 233-259, December.
  4. Borjas, George J, 1995. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human-Capital Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 365-90, June.
  5. Alonso-Villar, Olga & del Río, Coral, 2010. "Local versus overall segregation measures," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 30-38, July.
  6. Federico Echenique & Roland G. Fryer Jr & Alex Kaufman, 2006. "Is School Segregation Good or Bad?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 265-269, May.
  7. Butler, Richard J & McDonald, James B, 1987. "Interdistributional Income Inequality," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 5(1), pages 13-18, January.
  8. Chakravarty, Satya R. & Silber, Jacques, 2007. "A generalized index of employment segregation," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 185-195, March.
  9. FUSCO Alessio & SILBER Jacques, 2011. "Ordinal Variables and the Measurement of Polarization," LISER Working Paper Series 2011-33, LISER.
  10. Kolm, Serge-Christophe, 1977. "Multidimensional Egalitarianisms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 1-13, February.
  11. Frankel, David M. & Volij, Oscar, 2010. "Measuring School Segregation," Staff General Research Papers 31808, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  12. Borjas, George J, 1992. "Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 123-50, February.
  13. Fields, Gary S & Fei, John C H, 1978. "On Inequality Comparisons," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(2), pages 303-16, March.
  14. Hutchens, Robert, 2001. "Numerical measures of segregation: desirable properties and their implications," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 13-29, July.
  15. Atkinson, Anthony B & Bourguignon, Francois, 1982. "The Comparison of Multi-Dimensioned Distributions of Economic Status," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 183-201, April.
  16. Jenkins, Stephen P., 1994. "Earnings discrimination measurement : A distributional approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 81-102, March.
  17. Gleb Koshevoy, 1997. "The Lorenz zonotope and multivariate majorizations," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 1-14.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2012-274. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Maria Ana Lugo)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.