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The construction and interpretation of combined cross-section and time-series inequality datasets

  • Francois, Joseph F.
  • Rojas-Romagosa, Hugo

The inequality dataset compiled in the 1990s by the World Bank and extended by the United Nations has been both widely used and strongly criticized. The criticisms raise questions about conclusions drawn from secondary inequality datasets in general. The authors develop techniques to deal with national and international comparability problems intrinsic to such datasets. The result is a new dataset of consistent inequality series, allowing them to explore problems of measurement error. In addition, the new data allow the authors to perform parametric non-linear estimation of Lorenz curves from grouped data. This in turn allows them to estimate the entire income distribution, computing alternative inequality indexes and poverty estimates. Finally, the authors use their broadly comparable dataset to examine international patterns of inequality and poverty.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3748.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2005
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3748
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  1. Atkinson, A.B. & Brandolini, A., 2000. "Promise and Pitfalls in the Use of 'Secondary' Data -Sets: Income Inequality in OECD Countries," Papers 379, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
  2. Li, Hongyi & Squire, Lyn & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 26-43, January.
  3. Kakwani, N C & Podder, N, 1973. "On the Estimation of Lorenz Curves from Grouped Observations," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(2), pages 278-92, June.
  4. Sarabia, J. -M. & Castillo, Enrique & Slottje, Daniel J., 1999. "An ordered family of Lorenz curves," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 43-60, July.
  5. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1983. "Ranking Income Distributions," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(197), pages 3-17, February.
  6. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Growth, inequality, and poverty : looking beyond averages," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2558, The World Bank.
  7. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2002. "The Disturbing "Rise" of Global Income Inequality," NBER Working Papers 8904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), 2000. "Handbook of Income Distribution," Handbook of Income Distribution, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1, 00.
  9. Ortega, P, et al, 1991. "A New Functional Form for Estimating Lorenz Curves," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(4), pages 447-52, December.
  10. Datt, Gaurav, 1998. "Computational tools for poverty measurement and analysis," FCND discussion papers 50, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  11. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2001. "Growth is good for the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2587, The World Bank.
  12. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav & van de Walle, Dominique, 1991. "Quantifying Absolute Poverty in the Developing World," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(4), pages 345-61, December.
  13. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  14. Rasche, R H, et al, 1980. "Functional Forms for Estimating the Lorenz Curve: Comment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 1061-62, May.
  15. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2002. "The World Distribution of Income (estimated from Individual Country Distributions)," NBER Working Papers 8933, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Atkinson, A-B, 1996. "Bringing Income Distribution in from the Cold," Economics Papers 117, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  17. Kakwani, Nanak, 1980. "On a Class of Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(2), pages 437-46, March.
  18. Villasenor, JoseA. & Arnold, Barry C., 1989. "Elliptical Lorenz curves," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 327-338, February.
  19. Kakwani, Nanak C & Podder, N, 1976. "Efficient Estimation of the Lorenz Curve and Associated Inequality Measures from Grouped Observations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(1), pages 137-48, January.
  20. Jean-Marc Burniaux & Thai-Thanh Dang & Douglas Fore & Michael F. Förster & Marco Mira d'Ercole & Howard Oxley, 1998. "Income Distribution and Poverty in Selected OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 189, OECD Publishing.
  21. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 1997. "What Can New Survey Data Tell Us about Recent Changes in Distribution and Poverty?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 357-82, May.
  22. Barro, Robert J, 2000. " Inequality and Growth in a Panel of Countries," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 5-32, March.
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