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Measuring income inequalities beyond the Gini coefficient

Mikuláš Luptáčik () and Eduard Nežinský ()
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Mikuláš Luptáčik: Vienna University of Economics and Business
Eduard Nežinský: University of Economics in Bratislava

Central European Journal of Operations Research, 2020, vol. 28, issue 2, 561-578

Abstract: Abstract Growing interest in the analysis of interrelationships between income distribution and economic growth has recently stimulated new theoretical and empirical research. Measures such as the head-count ratio for the poverty index or the widely used Gini coefficient are aggregated indicators describing the general extent of inequality without deeper insights into income distribution among households. To derive an indicator accounting for income distribution among income groups, we propose a new approach based on an output oriented DEA model where the input value is unitized to 1 for each country and weights restrictions imposed so as to favour a higher income share in the lower quantiles. We demonstrate the merits of this approach on the quintile income breakdown data of 29 European countries. Prioritizing lower income groups’ welfare, countries such as Slovenia and Slovakia can be equally favoured by the new proposed indicator while being assessed differently by the Gini index. An intertemporal analysis reveals a slight deterioration of income distribution in the majority of 29 European countries over the period of 2007–2016 in a Rawlsian sense.

Keywords: Income distribution; Rawlsian utility; Data envelopment analysis; Weights restriction; Malmquist index (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s10100-019-00662-9

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