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On Economic Inequality$
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Amartya Sen

Print publication date: 1973

Print ISBN-13: 9780198281931

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198281935.001.0001

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Inequality as a Quasi‐Ordering

Inequality as a Quasi‐Ordering

(p.47) 3 Inequality as a Quasi‐Ordering
On Economic Inequality

Amartya Sen (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

It is argued that the difficulty of using the positive and normative measures of inequality described in the previous chapter arises from the fact that they are ‘complete’ measures. Each of these measures may give absurd results, because they aim to give a complete‐ordering representation to a concept that is essentially one of partial ranking. Hence, a weakening of the inequality measures to a mixture of partly descriptive and partly normative considerations is proposed. A number of reasons for taking inequality rankings as quasi‐orderings rather than complete orderings are suggested.

Keywords:   descriptive measures, economic inequality, inequality, measurement, normative measures, positive measures, quasi‐ordering, ranking

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