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On the Decomposition of Polarization Indices: Illustrations with Chinese and Nigerian Household Surveys


  • Abdelkrim Araar


This paper explores the link between polarization and inequality and proposes some analytical methods to decompose the Duclos, Esteban, and Ray (2004) polarization index by population groups or income sources. In some cases, the decomposition methods were extend to the Esteban and Ray (1994) one. The main aim of these decomposition methods is to extend the interpretation derived from polarization indices to that of contribution components. Results drawn from Chinese data conclude that even if inequality has increased sharply during the last two decades, the pure polarization component was remained constant or even decreased on average. On the other hand, results from the 2004 Nigerian survey conclude that the population is spatially polarized, and this, based on geo-ecological zones. Furthermore, the two income sources, namely, Employment income and Non farm business income, significantly contribute to total polarization.

Suggested Citation

  • Abdelkrim Araar, 2008. "On the Decomposition of Polarization Indices: Illustrations with Chinese and Nigerian Household Surveys," Cahiers de recherche 0806, CIRPEE.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0806

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 1997. "What Can New Survey Data Tell Us about Recent Changes in Distribution and Poverty?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 357-382, May.
    2. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1994. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 819-851, July.
    3. Lambert, Peter J & Aronson, J Richard, 1993. "Inequality Decomposition Analysis and the Gini Coefficient Revisited," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(420), pages 1221-1227, September.
    4. Wolfson, Michael C, 1994. "When Inequalities Diverge," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 353-358, May.
    5. Jean-Yves Duclos & Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2004. "Polarization: Concepts, Measurement, Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(6), pages 1737-1772, November.
    6. Pyatt, Graham, 1976. "On the Interpretation and Disaggregation of Gini Coefficients," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 86(342), pages 243-255, June.
    7. James Foster & Michael Wolfson, 2010. "Polarization and the decline of the middle class: Canada and the U.S," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 8(2), pages 247-273, June.
    8. Dagum, Camilo, 1997. "A New Approach to the Decomposition of the Gini Income Inequality Ratio," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 515-531.
    9. Dwayne Benjamin & Loren Brandt & John Giles & Sangui Wang, 2005. "Income Inequality During China's Economic Transition," Working Papers tecipa-238, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    10. Abdelkrim Araar & Awoyemi Taiwo, 2006. "Poverty and Inequality Nexus: Illustrations with Nigerian Data," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 28(15), pages 1.
    11. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:28:y:2006:i:15:p:a0 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Abdelkrim Araar, 2006. "On the Decomposition of the Gini Coefficient: an Exact Approach, with an Illustration Using Cameroonian Data," Cahiers de recherche 0602, CIRPEE.
    13. Shlomo Yitzhaki, 1979. "Relative Deprivation and the Gini Coefficient," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(2), pages 321-324.
    14. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:3:y:2003:i:19:p:1-16 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. John D. Hey & Peter J. Lambert, 1980. "Relative Deprivation and the Gini Coefficient: Comment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(3), pages 567-573.
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    Cited by:

    1. Deutsch, Joseph & Fusco, Alessio & Silber, Jacques, 2013. "The BIP Trilogy (bipolarization, inequality and polarization): One saga but three different stories," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 7, pages 1-33.
    2. Marco Ranaldi, 2016. "On the Measurement of Functional Income Distribution," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 16051rr, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne, revised Feb 2018.
    3. Jérôme Lefranc, 2012. "Polarisation et déclin de la classe moyenne : le cas de la Russie," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 12054, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    4. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00775929 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Ibrahim Tutar & Aysit Tansel, 2012. "An Analysis Of Political And Institutional Power Dispersion: The Case Of Turkey," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(4), pages 548-565, October.
    6. Céline Bonnefond & Matthieu Clément, 2012. "An analysis of income polarisation in rural and urban China," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(1), pages 15-37, June.
    7. Silva, Julie A. & Matyas, Corene J. & Cunguara, Benedito, 2014. "Regional Inequality and Polarization in the Context of Concurrent Extreme Weather and Economic Shocks," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 186603, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    8. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2009. "The Distribution of Income and Well-Being in Rural China: A Survey of Panel Data Sets, Studies and New Directions," MPRA Paper 20587, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Ines Bouassida & AbdelRahmen El Lahga, 2010. "Household Expenditure Polarization: Evidence from The Arab Region," Working Papers 559, Economic Research Forum, revised 10 Jan 2010.
    10. Wang, Chen & Wan, Guanghua, 2015. "Income polarization in China: Trends and changes," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 58-72.

    More about this item


    Polarization; Equity; Inequality; Decomposition;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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