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Research on Economic Inequality
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-521-4

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Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay

In this paper, I examine the concept of ‘vulnerability’ within the context of income mobility of the poor. While the concept of poverty is well developed, the concept of…

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In this paper, I examine the concept of ‘vulnerability’ within the context of income mobility of the poor. While the concept of poverty is well developed, the concept of vulnerability is less established in the economic literature. I test for the dynamics of vulnerable households in the United Kingdom using Waves 1–12 of the British Household Panel Survey and find that, of three different types of risks for which I test, household-specific shocks and economy-wide aggregate shocks have the greatest impact on consumption, in comparison to shocks to the income stream. I find vulnerable households up to at least 10 percentile points above the poverty line. Savings and earnings from a second job are not significantly associated with smoothing consumption of all vulnerable households. The results strongly indicate that income transfers and benefits assist the vulnerable in smoothing consumption. Thus, traditional poverty alleviating policies are not likely to assist the vulnerable.

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Inequality after the 20th Century: Papers from the Sixth ECINEQ Meeting
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-993-0

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Gaston Yalonetzky

The relative bipolarisation literature features examples of indices which depend on the median of the distribution, including the renowned Foster–Wolfson index. This study…

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The relative bipolarisation literature features examples of indices which depend on the median of the distribution, including the renowned Foster–Wolfson index. This study shows that the use of the median in the design and computation of relative bipolarisation indices is both unnecessary and problematic. It is unnecessary because we can rely on existing well-behaved, median-independent indices. It is problematic because, as the study shows, median-dependent indices violate the basic transfer axioms of bipolarisation (defining spread and clustering properties), except when the median is unaffected by the transfers. The convenience of discarding the median from index computations is further illustrated with a numerical example in which median-independent indices rank distributions according to the basic transfer axioms while median-dependent indices do not.

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Research on Economic Inequality
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-521-4

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Francisco H. G. Ferreira, Deon Filmer and Norbert Schady

Conditional cash transfers (CCT) have been adopted in many countries over the last two decades. Although the impacts of these programs have been studied extensively…

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Conditional cash transfers (CCT) have been adopted in many countries over the last two decades. Although the impacts of these programs have been studied extensively, understanding of the economic mechanisms through which cash and conditions affect household decisions remains incomplete. In particular, relatively little is known about the effects of these programs on intra-household allocation decisions. This chapter uses evidence from a program in Cambodia, where eligibility varied substantially among siblings in the same household, to illustrate these effects. A simple model of schooling decisions highlights three different effects of a child-specific CCT: an income effect, a substitution effect, and a displacement effect. The model predicts that such a CCT should unambiguously increase enrollment for eligible children, but have an ambiguous effect on ineligible siblings. The ambiguity arises from the interaction of a positive income effect with a negative displacement effect. These predictions are shown to be consistent with evidence from Cambodia, where the CESSP Scholarship Program (CSP) makes modest transfers, conditional on school enrollment for children of middle-school age. Scholarship recipients were more than 20 percentage points more likely to be enrolled in school, and 10 percentage points less likely to work for pay. However, the school enrollment and work of ineligible siblings was largely unaffected by the program. A possible fourth effect, operating through non-pecuniary spillovers of the intervention among siblings, remains largely outside the scope of the analysis, although there is some tentative evidence to suggest that it might also be at work.

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Research on Economic Inequality
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-521-4

Keywords

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Abstract

Details

Research on Economic Inequality
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-521-4

To view the access options for this content please click here
Book part

Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay

The distribution dynamics of incomes across Indian states are examined using the entire income distribution. Unlike standard regression approaches, this approach allows us…

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The distribution dynamics of incomes across Indian states are examined using the entire income distribution. Unlike standard regression approaches, this approach allows us to identify specific distributional characteristics such as polarisation and stratification. The period between 1965 and 1997 exhibits the formation of two convergence clubs: one at 50% and another at 125% of the national average income. Income disparities across the states declined over the sixties and then increased from the seventies to the nineties. Conditioning exercises reveal that the formation of the convergence clubs is associated with the disparate distribution of macro-economic factors such as capital expenditure and fiscal deficits. In particular, capital expenditure, fiscal deficits and education expenditures are found to be associated with the formation of the upper convergence club.

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Inequality, Mobility and Segregation: Essays in Honor of Jacques Silber
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-171-7

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Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay and Frank A. Cowell

In this paper, we examine the concept of “vulnerability” within the context of income mobility of the poor. We test for the dynamics of vulnerable households in the UK…

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the concept of “vulnerability” within the context of income mobility of the poor. We test for the dynamics of vulnerable households in the UK using waves 1–12 of the British Household Panel Survey and find that, of three different types of risks that we test for, household-specific shocks and economy-wide aggregate shocks have the greatest impact on consumption, in comparison to shocks to the income stream.

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Dynamics of Inequality and Poverty
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-350-1

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Oded Stark, Grzegorz Kosiorowski and Marcin Jakubek

A transfer from a richer individual to a poorer one seems to be the most intuitive and straightforward way of reducing income inequality in a society. However, can such a…

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A transfer from a richer individual to a poorer one seems to be the most intuitive and straightforward way of reducing income inequality in a society. However, can such a transfer reduce the welfare of the society? We show that a rich-to-poor transfer can induce a response in the individuals’ behaviors which actually exacerbates, rather than reduces, income inequality as measured by the Gini index. We use this result as an input in assessing the social welfare consequence of the transfer. Measuring social welfare by Sen’s social welfare function, we show that the transfer reduces social welfare. These two results are possible even for individuals whose utility functions are relatively simple (namely, at most quadratic in all terms) and incorporate a distaste for low relative income. We first present the two results for a population of two individuals. We subsequently provide several generalizations. We show that our argument holds for a population of any size, and that the choice of utility functions which trigger this response is not singular – the results obtain for an open set of the space of admissible utility functions. In addition, we show that a rich-to-poor transfer can exacerbate inequality when we employ Lorenz-domination, and that it can decrease social welfare when we draw on any increasing, Schur-concave welfare function.

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Research on Economic Inequality
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-521-4

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Book part

Gaston Yalonetzky

Relative bipolarisation indices are usually constructed making sure that they achieve their minimum value of bipolarisation if and only if distributions are perfectly…

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Relative bipolarisation indices are usually constructed making sure that they achieve their minimum value of bipolarisation if and only if distributions are perfectly egalitarian. However, the literature has neglected discussing the existence of a benchmark of maximum relative bipolarisation. Consequently there is no discussion as to the implications of maximum bipolarisation for the optimal normalisation of relative bipolarisation indices either. In this note we characterize the situation of maximum relative bipolarisation as the only one consistent with the key axioms of relative bipolarisation. We illustrate the usefulness of incorporating the concept of maximum relative bipolarisation in the design of bipolarisation indices by identifying, among the family of rank-dependent Wang–Tsui indices, the only subclass fulfilling a normalisation axiom that takes into account both benchmarks of minimum and maximum relative bipolarisation.

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Research on Economic Inequality
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-521-4

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Suman Seth and Sabina Alkire

A number of multidimensional poverty measures that respect the ordinal nature of dimensions have recently been proposed within the counting approach framework. Besides…

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A number of multidimensional poverty measures that respect the ordinal nature of dimensions have recently been proposed within the counting approach framework. Besides ensuring a reduction in poverty, however, it is important to monitor distributional changes to ensure that poverty reduction has been inclusive in reaching the poorest. Distributional issues are typically captured by adjusting a poverty measure to be sensitive to inequality among the poor. This approach, however, has certain practical and conceptual limitations. It conflicts, for example, with some policy-relevant measurement features, such as the ability to decompose a measure into dimensions post-identification and does not create an appropriate framework for assessing disparity in poverty across population subgroups. In this chapter, we propose and justify the use of a separate decomposable inequality measure – a positive multiple of “variance” – to capture the distribution of deprivations among the poor and to assess disparity in poverty across population subgroups. We demonstrate the applicability of our approach through two contrasting inter-temporal illustrations using Demographic Health Survey data sets for Haiti and India.

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