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Re-interpreting sub-group inequality decompositions

Author

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  • Elbers, Chris
  • Lanjouw, Peter
  • Mistiaen, Johan A.
  • Ozler, Berk

Abstract

The authors propose a modification to the conventional approach of decomposing income inequality by population sub-groups. Specifically, they propose a measure that evaluates observed between-group inequality against a benchmark of maximum between-group inequality that can be attained when the number and relative sizes of groups under examination are fixed. The authors argue that such a modification can provide a complementary perspective on the question of whether a particular population breakdown is salient to an assessment of inequality in a country. As their measure normalizes between-group inequality by the number and relative sizes of groups, it is also less subject to problems of comparability across different settings. The authors show that for a large set of countries their assessment of the importance of group differences typically increases substantially on the basis of this approach. The ranking of countries (or different population groups) can also differ from that obtained using traditional decomposition methods. Finally, they observe an interesting pattern of higher levels of overall inequality in countries where their measure finds higher between-group contributions.

Suggested Citation

  • Elbers, Chris & Lanjouw, Peter & Mistiaen, Johan A. & Ozler, Berk, 2005. "Re-interpreting sub-group inequality decompositions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3687, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3687
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Jérémie Gignoux, 2011. "The Measurement Of Inequality Of Opportunity: Theory And An Application To Latin America," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 57(4), pages 622-657, December.
    3. Paolo Liberati & Raffaele Lagravinese & Giuliano Resce, 2017. "How Does Economic Social And Cultural Status Affect The Efficiency Of Educational Attainments? A Comparative Analysis On Pisa Results," Departmental Working Papers of Economics - University 'Roma Tre' 0217, Department of Economics - University Roma Tre.
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    5. Chris Elbers & Peter Lanjouw & Johan Mistiaen & Berk Özler, 2008. "Reinterpreting between-group inequality," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 6(3), pages 231-245, September.
    6. Antonio Abatemarco, 2010. "Measuring inequality of opportunity through between-group inequality components," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 8(4), pages 475-490, December.
    7. Peter Lanjouw & Rinku Murgai & Nicholas Stern, 2013. "Nonfarm diversification, poverty, economic mobility, and income inequality: a case study in village India," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 44(4-5), pages 461-473, July.
    8. Lagravinese, Raffaele & Liberati, Paolo & Resce, Giuliano, 2020. "The impact of economic, social and cultural conditions on educational attainments," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 112-132.
    9. Lanjouw, Peter & Rao, Vijayendra, 2011. "Revisiting Between-Group Inequality Measurement: An Application to the Dynamics of Caste Inequality in Two Indian Villages," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 174-187, February.

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