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A Comparison of Major World Inequality Data Sets: LIS, OECD, EU-SILC, WDI, and EHII

Income Inequality Around the World

ISBN: 978-1-78560-944-2, eISBN: 978-1-78560-943-5

ISSN: 0147-9121

Publication date: 27 August 2016


We present a comparison of coverage and values for five inequality data sets that have worldwide or major international coverage and independent measurements that are intended to present consistent coefficients that can be compared directly across countries and time. The comparison data sets are those published by the Luxembourg Income Studies (LIS), the OECD, the European Union’s Statistics on Incomes and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), and the World Bank’s World Development Indicators (WDI). The baseline comparison is with our own Estimated Household Income Inequality (EHII) data set of the University of Texas Inequality Project. The comparison shows the historical depth and range of EHII and its broad compatibility with LIS, OECD, and EU-SILC, as well as problems with using the WDI for any cross-country comparative purpose. The comparison excludes the large World Incomes Inequality Database (WIID) of UNU-WIDER and the Standardized World Income Inequality Database (SWIID) of Frederick Solt; the former is a bibliographic collection and the latter is based on imputations drawn, in part, from EHII and the other sources used here.




We thank the editors of Research in Labor Economics, three anonymous referees, and the Institute for New Economic Thinking for generous support.


Galbraith, J.K., Choi, J., Halbach, B., Malinowska, A. and Zhang, W. (2016), "A Comparison of Major World Inequality Data Sets: LIS, OECD, EU-SILC, WDI, and EHII", Income Inequality Around the World (Research in Labor Economics, Vol. 44), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 1-48.



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