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World Income Inequality Databases: An Assessment of WIID and SWIID

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  • Jenkins, Stephen P.

    (London School of Economics)

Abstract

This article assesses two secondary data compilations about income inequality – the World Income Inequality Database (WIIDv2c), and the Standardized World Income Inequality Database (SWIIDv4.0) which is based on WIID but with all observations multiply-imputed. WIID and SWIID are convenient and accessible sources for researchers seeking cross-national data with global coverage for relatively long time periods. Against these benefits must be set costs arising from lack of data comparability and quality and also, in the case of SWIID, questions about its imputation model. WIID and SWIID users need to recognize this benefit-cost trade-off and ensure their substantive conclusions are robust to potential data problems. I provide detailed description of the nature and contents of both sources plus illustrative regression analysis. From a data issues perspective, I recommend WIID over SWIID, though my support for use of WIID is conditional.

Suggested Citation

  • Jenkins, Stephen P., 2014. "World Income Inequality Databases: An Assessment of WIID and SWIID," IZA Discussion Papers 8501, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8501
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    WIID; imputation; global inequality; inequality; Gini; SWIID;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • C82 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

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