The chartbook of economic inequality across the select economies (including India)

Inequality trends has taken over the world economy and  captured the interests of economists.

Tony Atkinson and Salvatore Morelli introduce to this superb chartbook on inequality in this voxeu piece. The chartbook captures trends for more than 100 years across twenty-five economies including India.

Even better is it has this common set of questions for all the countries which help understand the trends.

For India this is how it stands:

  • Has the dispersion of earnings been increasing in recent decades?Yes, the Gini coefficient for individual earnings increased by 8 percentage points from 1993 to 2004.
  • Has overall inequality increased in recent years?Yes, the Gini coefficient (from expenditure data) increased by 3 percentage points from 1994 to 2010.
  • Have there been periods when overall inequality fell for a sustained period?Yes, some decline in overall inequality after Independence.
  • Has poverty been falling or rising in recent decades?Falling at least since 1983. Note, however that we only observe measures of absolute poverty.
  • Has there been a U-pattern for top income shares over time?Yes, top income shares fell from 1940 to 1980 and then rose; share of top 1 per cent doubled.
  • Has the distribution of wealth followed the same pattern as income?No evidence

Nice stuff.

Overall, I think last 20-25 years before the crisis have resulted in sharp rise in inequality in most economies including the Nordic ones as well.  It raises some serious questions on the model of growth followed in these years. We have usually celebrated these years as they led to high growth and development.

But now we realise much of the growth was for people at the top end and no surprises that they are the ones who have hyped up this whole era. The lower rung did not complain as things kept going but now it is all over the place..It is no surprise to see middle class rising in much parts of the world.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: