Countries becoming ‘equally unequal’

There is strong evidence showing that inequality levels across countries converged during the period 1980–2005, according to a new academic paper.

Researchers tested trends in GINI indices (a standard measure of income inequality), compiling separate results for developed and developing countries.

Key findings

  • Between 1980 and 2005 rates of income inequality became generally similar between different countries.
  • The speed of convergence was faster than the conventional 2 per cent annual speed of convergence in income per head.
  • Developed countries appear to have converged faster than developing countries.
  • Inequality decreased in highly unequal countries, but it increased in highly equal countries. In other words, countries across the world were becoming equally unequal.

Source: Shatakshee Dhongde and Xing Miao, Cross-Country Convergence in Income Inequality, Working Paper 2013-290, ECINEQ: Society for the Study of Economic Inequality
Link: Paper