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Multidimensional Inequality Measurement: A Proposal

  • Christian List

Two essential intuitions about the concept of multidimensional inequality have been highlighted in the emerging body of literature on this subject: first, multidimensional inequality should be a function of the uniform inequality of a multivariate distribution of goods or attributes across people (Kolm, 1977); and second, it should also be a function of the cross-correlation between distributions of goods or attributes in different dimensions (Atkinson and Bourguignon, 1982; Walzer, 1983). While the first intuition has played a major role in the design of fully-fledged multidimensional inequality indices, the second one has only recently received attention (Tsui, 1999); and, so far, multidimensional generalized entropy measures are the only inequality measures known to respect both intuitions. The present paper proposes a general method of designing a wider range of multidimensional inequality indices that also respect both intuitions and illustrates this method by defining two classes of such indices: a generalization of the Gini coefficient, and a generalization of Atkinsons one-dimensional measure of inequality.

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File URL: http://www.nuff.ox.ac.uk/economics/Papers/1999/w27/inequality.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 1999-W27.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 1999
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:1999-w27
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