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Partial Multidimensional Inequality Orderings

  • Jean-Yves Duclos
  • David E. Sahn
  • Stephen D. Younger

The paper investigates how comparisons of multivariate inequality can be made robust to varying the intensity of focus on the share of the population that are more relatively deprived. It follows the dominance approach to making inequality comparisons, as developed for instance by Atkinson (1970), Foster and Shorrocks (1988) and Formby, Smith, and Zheng (1999) in the unidimensional context, and Atkinson and Bourguignon (1982) in the multidimensional context. By focusing on those below a multidimensional inequality “frontier”, we are able to reconcile the literature on multivariate relative poverty and multivariate inequality. Some existing approaches to multivariate inequality actually reduce the distributional analysis to a univariate problem, either by using a utility function first to aggregate an individual’s multiple dimensions of well-being, or by applying a univariate inequality analysis to each dimension independently. One of our innovations is that unlike previous approaches, the distribution of relative well-being in one dimension is allowed to affect how other dimensions influence overall inequality. We apply our approach to data from India and Mexico using monetary and non-monetary indicators of well-being.

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Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 1003.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:1003
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  1. Ernesto Savaglio, 2006. "Multidimensional inequality with variable population size," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 85-94, 05.
  2. Sahn, David E. & Stifel, David C., 2000. "Poverty Comparisons Over Time and Across Countries in Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 2123-2155, December.
  3. David Sahn & Stephen Younger, 2005. "Improvements in children’s health: Does inequality matter?," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 125-143, August.
  4. Russell Davidson & Jean-Yves Duclos, 2006. "Testing for Restricted Stochastic Dominance," Cahiers de recherche 0609, CIRPEE.
  5. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1992. "Growth and redistribution components of changes in poverty measures : A decomposition with applications to Brazil and India in the 1980s," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 275-295, April.
  6. Foster, James E. & Shorrocks, Anthony F., 1988. "Inequality and poverty orderings," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(2-3), pages 654-661, March.
  7. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-31, March.
  8. David E. Sahn & David Stifel, 2003. "Exploring Alternative Measures of Welfare in the Absence of Expenditure Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 49(4), pages 463-489, December.
  9. Duclos, Jean-Yves & Sahn, David & Younger, Stephen D., 2001. "Robust Multidimensional Poverty Comparisons," Cahiers de recherche 0115, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
  10. Formby, John P. & Smith, W. James & Zheng, Buhong, 1999. "The coefficient of variation, stochastic dominance and inequality: A new interpretation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 319-323, March.
  11. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  12. Tsui Kai-Yuen, 1995. "Multidimensional Generalizations of the Relative and Absolute Inequality Indices: The Atkinson-Kolm-Sen Approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 251-265, October.
  13. Horton, S. & Ross, J., 2003. "The economics of iron deficiency," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 51-75, February.
  14. 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.
  15. Maasoumi, Esfandiar & Jeong, Jin Ho, 1985. "The trend and the measurement of world inequality over extended periods of accounting," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 295-301.
  16. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
  17. Sen, Amartya, 1973. "On Economic Inequality," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198281931, March.
  18. Kaur, Amarjot & Prakasa Rao, B.L.S. & Singh, Harshinder, 1994. "Testing for Second-Order Stochastic Dominance of Two Distributions," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(05), pages 849-866, December.
  19. Jean-Yves Duclos & David Sahn & Stephen D. Younger, 2006. "Robust Multidimensional Spatial Poverty Comparisons in Ghana, Madagascar, and Uganda," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 20(1), pages 91-113.
  20. Maasoumi, Esfandiar & Nickelsburg, Gerald, 1988. "Multivariate Measures of Well-Being and an Analysis of Inequality in the Michigan Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 6(3), pages 326-34, July.
  21. John A. Weymark, 2003. "The Normative Approach to the Measurement of Multidimensional Inequality," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0314, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics, revised Jan 2004.
  22. Sen, Amartya, 1970. "Interpersonal Aggregation and Partial Comparability," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 38(3), pages 393-409, May.
  23. Sen, Amartya, 1983. "Poor, Relatively Speaking," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 153-69, July.
  24. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1983. "Ranking Income Distributions," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(197), pages 3-17, February.
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