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Global inequality and the global inequality extraction ratio: the story of the past two centuries

  • Milanovic, Branko

Using social tables, the author makes an estimate of global inequality (inequality among world citizens) in the early 19th century. The analysis shows that the level and composition of global inequality have changed over the past two centuries. The level has increased, reaching a high plateau around the 1950s, and the main determinants of global inequality have become differences in mean country incomes rather than inequalities within nations. The inequality extraction ratio (the percentage of total inequality that was extracted by global elites) has remained surprisingly stable, at around 70 percent of the maximum global Gini, during the past 100 years.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5044.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5044
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  1. Branko Milanovic, 2006. "An Estimate Of Average Income And Inequality In Byzantium Around Year 1000," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 52(3), pages 449-470, 09.
  2. Prados De La Escosura, Leandro, 2008. "Inequality, poverty and the Kuznets curve in Spain, 1850–2000," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(03), pages 287-324, December.
  3. Branko Milanovic & Peter H. Lindert & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2011. "Pre‐Industrial Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(551), pages 255-272, March.
  4. Milanovic, Branko, 2007. "An even higher global inequality than previously thought," MPRA Paper 6676, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Maddison, Angus, 2007. "Contours of the World Economy 1-2030 AD: Essays in Macro-Economic History," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199227204.
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