Growth, Inequality, and Well-Being: Intertemporal and Global Comparisons

Grü, Carola; Klasen, Stephan
December 2003
CESifo Economic Studies;2003, Vol. 49 Issue 4, p617
Academic Journal
We use several well-being measures that combine average income with a measure of inequality to undertake intertemporal and global comparisons of well-being. The conclusions emerging from the intertemporal analysis are that the impact of these measures on temporal trends in well-being is relatively small on average, but changing across the decades. In particular, it suggests that changes in well-being were understated in the 1960 s and 197 0s and overstated in the 1980 s and 1990s. Our global analysis covering ca. 81 per cent of the world's population demonstrates that global well-being is at least 5 0 per cent smaller than world per capita income if the unequal income distribution is also factored in. Conversely, growth in world well-being has been larger than world income growth between 197 0-1998. Since the inclusion of ine-quality has an important impact on well-being comparisons, it is of great importance to generate more consistent and intertemporally as well as internationally comparable data on inequality. (JEL I31, D63).


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