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Inequality and InstabilityA Study of the World Economy Just Before the Great Crisis$
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James K. Galbraith

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199855650

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199855650.001.0001

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The Need for New Inequality Measures

The Need for New Inequality Measures

(p.20) Chapter 2 The Need for New Inequality Measures
Inequality and Instability

James K. Galbraith

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines various problems and defects in published works on inequality measures through time. These, including datasets, have formed the basis of studies on inequality in the world economy since the mid-1990s. The chapter explains how studies based on grouped data have more benefits than those which use survey approaches. The former is considered more complete and not subject to the inconsistent, sporadic, and intermittent characteristics of underlying surveys. Another benefit of the former is that group structures can be exploited to give measures at different levels of geographic aggregation. This covers areas composed of both subnational (provinces) and supernational (continental regions). In short, grouped data can illustrate the presence of common patterns in the world economy. For example, the pay inequality in the United States is less, not greater, than in Europe. This finding contradicts the view that the superior employment performance in the U.S. is due to high inequalities in its pay structure. Perhaps, measurements of European inequality became highlighted only as the continental economy moved towards comprehensive integration.

Keywords:   inequality measures, world economy, U.S. pay inequality, European inequality

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