The choice of inequality measure in empirical research on distributive judgements


We analyse questionnaire data from a representative sample of the Flemish working population. For 781 respondents we construct their perception of the actual and of the fair income distribution. We check whether the use of different inequality measures leads to different interpretations of these data. The ranking of individuals on the basis of their perceived and fair inequality is hardly affected and the same is true for the explanation of the interindividual variation. However, the simple classification of individual respondents in those who want and those who do not want less inequality does depend on the measure used in 20% of the cases. Moreover, the tendency to equalise is a poor measures of conservatism.

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Correspondence to Andre Decoster.

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Decoster, A., Schokkaert, E. The choice of inequality measure in empirical research on distributive judgements. J. Econ. 77, 197–222 (2002).

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  • Inequality Measurement
  • Distributive Justice
  • Distributinal Change
  • Perception of Inequality

JEL classification

  • D63