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On the Decomposition of the Gini Coefficient: an Exact Approach, with an Illustration Using Cameroonian Data

  • Abdelkrim Araar

Decomposing inequality indices across household groups or income sources is useful in estimating the contribution of each component to total inequality. This can help policy makers draw efficient policies to reduce disparities in the distribution of incomes using targeting tools. Decomposing relative inequality indices, such as the Gini coefficient, is not a simple procedure since, in many cases, the functional form of inequality indices is not additively separable in incomes. More importantly, for some of the indices on which this decomposition can be performed, the interpretation of the decomposition components is often not well founded. In this paper, we use the Shapley value as well as analytical approaches to perform the decomposition of the Gini coefficient and generalize it, in some cases, to the decomposition of other inequality indices. For the analytical approach, our aim is to extend the same interpretation, attributed to the Gini coefficient, to that of the contribution components.

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Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 0602.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0602
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  1. Hey, John D & Lambert, Peter J, 1980. "Relative Deprivation and the Gini Coefficient: Comment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 567-73, November.
  2. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1984. "Inequality Decomposition by Population Subgroups," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1369-85, November.
  3. Pyatt, Graham, 1976. "On the Interpretation and Disaggregation of Gini Coefficients," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 86(342), pages 243-55, June.
  4. Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A., 1980. "A single-parameter generalization of the Gini indices of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 67-86, February.
  5. Lerman, Robert I & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1985. "Income Inequality Effects by Income," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(1), pages 151-56, February.
  6. Silber, Jacques, 1989. "Factor Components, Population Subgroups and the Computation of the Gini Index of Inequality," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(1), pages 107-15, February.
  7. Podder, Nripesh & Chatterjee, Srikanta, 2002. "Sharing the national cake in post reform New Zealand: income inequality trends in terms of income sources," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 1-27, October.
  8. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:3:y:2003:i:19:p:1-16 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Lambert, Peter J & Aronson, J Richard, 1993. "Inequality Decomposition Analysis and the Gini Coefficient Revisited," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(420), pages 1221-27, September.
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