Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



A ‘World’ Distribution of Income and of Real Poverty and Affluence (The Quaid-i-Azam Lecture)

Since the early 1970s, when income distribution became an operative objective of economic development (Chenery et al. 1974), knowledge on the subject has certainly improved. A number of analytical treatises have focused on the issue Pen (1971), Atkinson (1970), Cline (1975) and, more important, data on income distribution are routinely reported for about a score of developing countries (LDCs) and as many developed countries (Des) World Bank (1986), Jain (1975), Paukert (1973). These data deal with the within-country relative income distribution and report one or more of the common inequality measures. Moreover, for some countries measures of absolute poverty exist which report, e.g., the population that lives below a “poverty level”, defmed in terms of consumption (calories) or income (for example, Dandekar and Rath (1971), Bardhan (1970), (1973), Fishlow (1972). Such measures of absolute poverty, if aggregated over a number of countries, give a measure of relative world poverty and an idea of how it is distributed between- countries. Cross-country comparisons have also been based on ranking various countries on the basis of their measures of relative income distribution.

Pan A. Yotopoulos

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