On the Measurement of Indignation
Recently, a lot of attention is given to income variations occurring at the top of the income distribution. “What happens to the top 1%?” is a question of crucial importance on the political level (Occupy Wall Street Movement) as well as on income inequality measurement level. Despite this increased interest, there is no rigorous measurement framework available in the literature for the measurement of “indignation”. To fill this gap, this paper proposes a simple framework for the measurement of indignation. It exposes the ethical principles underlying an indignation index and develops restricted positional dominance conditions that produce robust orderings of indignation between income distributions. It also proposes a parametric class of indignation indices that may be used to produce complete orderings when the restricted positional dominance tests do not lead to satisfactory orderings. Finally, the paper offers a brief empirical illustration using the World Top Incomes Database.
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