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Changes in income inequality from a global perspective: An overview

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  • Thomas Goda

Abstract

Rising income inequality has recently moved into the centre of political and economic debates in line with increasing claims that a global rise in income inequality might have been a root cause of the subprime crisis. This paper provides an extensive overview of world scale developments in relative (i.e. proportional) income inequality to determine if the claims that the latter was high prior to the crisis are substantiated. The results of this study indicate that (i) non-population adjusted inequality between countries (inter-country inequality) increased between 1820 and the late 1990s but then decreased thereafter, while there was a steady decrease after the 1950s when population weights are taken into account; (ii) income inequality between ‘global citizens’ (global inequality) increased significantly between 1820 and 1950, while there was no clear trend thereafter; (iii) contemporary relative income inequality within countries (intra-country inequality) registered a clear upward trend on a global level since the 1980s.

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  • Thomas Goda, 2013. "Changes in income inequality from a global perspective: An overview," Working Papers PKWP1303, Post Keynesian Economics Society (PKES).
  • Handle: RePEc:pke:wpaper:pkwp1303
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Goda & Alejandro Torres, 2015. "Class or location? What explains the rising tide of absolute global income inequality during 1850-2010?," Documentos de Trabajo de Valor Público 12663, Universidad EAFIT.
    2. Goda, Thomas & Onaran, Özlem & Stockhammer, Engelbert, 2014. "A case for redistribution? income inequality and wealth concentration in the recent crisis," Greenwich Papers in Political Economy 14056, University of Greenwich, Greenwich Political Economy Research Centre.
    3. Thomas Goda, 2013. "The role of income inequality in crisis theories and in the subprime crisis," Working Papers PKWP1305, Post Keynesian Economics Society (PKES).
    4. Peter Edward, Andy Sumner, 2013. "The Geography of Inequality: Where and by How Much Has Income Distribution Changed since 1990?-Working Paper 341," Working Papers 341, Center for Global Development.
    5. Thomas Goda & Alejandro Torres García, 2017. "The Rising Tide of Absolute Global Income Inequality During 1850–2010: Is It Driven by Inequality Within or Between Countries?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 130(3), pages 1051-1072, February.
    6. Peter Edward & Andy Sumner, 2013. "Inequality from a global perspective: An alternative approach," Working Papers 302, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    7. Edward, Peter & Sumner, Andy, 2014. "Estimating the Scale and Geography of Global Poverty Now and in the Future: How Much Difference Do Method and Assumptions Make?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 67-82.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Personal income distribution; trends in income inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative

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