Date: 19 Mar 2014

Well-Being Distribution in the Globalization Era: 30 Years of Convergence

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Abstract

Globalization has brought with a period of economic growth and the expansion of well-being levels. However, nothing has been said about how such an increase in quality of life has been distributed among countries. The aim of this work is to investigate whether the enhancement of quality of life has lead developing nations to catch up with advanced economies or, instead, well-being levels have diverged across countries. To shed light on this question, we study the distributional patterns of well-being in the last wave of globalization. As a well-being indicator, we use the Human Development Index which includes income variables as well as social aspects, thus reflecting the multidimensional nature of this process. We found evidence of sigma convergence although an increase in polarization is also observed. Moreover, our results also point out that the convergence process has been nonlinear.