Events and Meetings of Italian Statistical Society, Statistics and Demography: the Legacy of Corrado Gini

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Comparative statistics on the distribution of household wealth: where do we stand?
Marco Mira d’Ercole, Fabrice Murtin

Last modified: 2015-09-05

Abstract


Comparative data on the distribution of households’ economic resources provide a powerful form of ‘story-telling’, which may be used to put on the radarscreen of policy-makers issues that would otherwise escape their attention. Because of this role, lack of comparative data can have real-world consequences: in the case of income inequalities, the lack of international standards and comparative data until the late 90s led policy-makers to ‘miss’ the rising tide of higher inequalities that started affecting industrialised countries since the late 1970s. Statistics on wealth inequalities stand today in a situation similar to that of income inequalities 20 or 30 years ago, i.e. no international standards exist and availability of comparable data is seriously limited. The paper describes some of the steps taken by the OECD to provide a more solid foundation to comparative evidence in this field.


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