Global Income Inequality

Beliefs, facts and unresolved issues

Arne Melchior

Published: September 2001

While several international organisations have argued that income gaps between countries have increased during the last decades, the opposite conclusion is obtained if countries are weighted according to their population size, and if price-level-adjusted income data are applied. Inequality measures that give higher weight to the poorest countries also support this conclusion. Due to falling incomes in a number of poor countries, however, the gap between the richest and poorest countries has widened, and unambiguous conclusions about welfare are difficult to draw.

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