what are gini coefficients?

Charles Brown CharlesB at CNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Fri Aug 18 07:50:55 PDT 2000

The thing that struck me about the Gini curves on the LBO website example is that they were so close together. Then there is this discussion around here that Pareto or somebody and others have demonstrated that the income distribution/dispersion/inequality is and has been very close over a the long run ( or is that a joke ?).

It would seem like the interesting thing about income distribution is that it doesn't change, suggesting none other than a scientific law at work.

>>> dhenwood at panix.com 08/17/00 07:15PM >>>
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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