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Why we all do care about inequality (but are loath to admit it)


  • Branko Milanovic


This note is motivated by recent arguments made by Martin Feldstein in which the relevance of inequality is dismissed (if everybody's income goes up, who cares if inequality is up too?), and the argument is made that only poverty alleviation should matter. This note shows that we all do care about inequality, and to hold that we should be concerned with poverty solely and not with inequality is internally inconsistent.

Suggested Citation

  • Branko Milanovic, 2004. "Why we all do care about inequality (but are loath to admit it)," HEW 0404002, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwphe:0404002
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 10

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thorbecke, Erik & Charumilind, Chutatong, 2002. "Economic Inequality and Its Socioeconomic Impact," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 1477-1495, September.
    2. Sen, Amartya, 2000. "Social justice and the distribution of income," Handbook of Income Distribution,in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 59-85 Elsevier.
    3. Martin Feldstein, 1998. "Income Inequality and Poverty," NBER Working Papers 6770, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item


    Poverty; inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General


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