what are gini coefficients?

Doug Henwood dhenwood at panix.com
Thu Aug 17 16:15:26 PDT 2000

Jim heartfield wrote:

>At the risk of boring those in the know, I would love to know what the
>methodology of the gini coefficient is? Gini was the name of a soft
>drink here, that never quite took off (somewhere between sprite and
>fizzy water). I've always assumed that it was some measure of relative
>poverty (as opposed to absolute) but that's as much as I know.


>Most of all I've noticed that conventional economics is very much at
>home with gini coefficients,

It's not something that troubles most economists, only income & poverty types.

> in a way that it never was about old-
>fashioned inequality - something about mathematics makes it all sound so
>technical and impersonal.

If you want that, you refer to "income dispersion" rather than "inequality."

> I guess that this is a measure of
>distributional inequality rather than one of social power.

Distributional inequality isn't unrelated to social power, is it?


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