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

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Gini, his contemporaries, and the modern measurement of income inequality
Andrea Brandolini

Last modified: 2015-09-04


The empirical and theoretical analysis of the personal income distribution begins with Pareto’s celebrated study of the revenue curve, but it was Corrado Gini to provide the first convincing measure of inequality. Many summary indices have been scrutinised ever since. Preferences vary, but a consensus has been reached that alternative indices have a distinctive informational content, and relying on a single measure is bound to provide a partial view. The absolute/relative dichotomy is still an open issue, calling for further research. The paper surveys some indices and illustrates their properties, using examples drawn from applications to Italian data spanning a period of over a century.

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