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GINI DP 9: Comparable Indicators of Inequality Across Countries

By Brian Nolan, Ive Marx and Wiemer Salverda

Abstract

This paper addresses the key issue for the GINI project of how best to approach the measurement of income inequality and wage inequality to enhance comparability across different studies. It focuses fi rst on income inequality, dealing with the defi nition of income, the income recipient unit, and the unit of analysis. The summary measures used to capture inequality are also discussed, with an emphasis on capturing trends at different points in the distribution, and sources for comparative data on inequality levels and trends are discussed. The paper then turns to inequality in earnings among employees and discusses the same set of issues in that context. The above bears directly on any analysis of inequality itself but it is also important for an analysis of the direct impacts of inequality at micro-level. For a (multilevel) analysis based on aggregate inequality as an input the paper provides an understanding of the need for comparable concepts and defi nitions across countries and links to data sources as well as aggregate levels. It also links to practical experiences of researchers with different datasets. For this and the datasets see the Data Portal at "gini-research.org":http://www.gini-research.org

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