CEPII, Recherche et Expertise sur l'economie mondiale
A world more equal, but countries less so?

Isabelle Bensidoun
Grégoire Elkouby

While at the end of the 1990’s, the debate around inequality worldwide was focused on the evolution of international inequality or inequality between countries, it has now shifted to the dynamics of within-country inequality. The purpose of this panorama is to overview changes in income inequalitiy over the last decades at different levels: inequality between countries, international inequality, global inequality and within-country inequality. Inequality between countries provide information about the gaps between average living standards worldwide. From that perspective, evolutions since 2000 show that the increase in inequality observed until then flipped over: enough developing countries have experienced a strong growth of their GDP per capita to lead to a fall of inequality between countries. As a result, inequality between countries and international inequality (i.e., weighting countries by their population), have moved in the same direction since then. This reduction in international inequality is largely responsible for the reduction in global inequality, reflecting the way income gaps between world citizens have evolved. However, at the end of the period, the decrease in global inequality is also due (in some estimates) to domestic inequality. While those inequalities have sharply increased in many countries between the mid-1980’s and the financial crisis of 2007-2008, they now evolve in more contrasting ways.

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  •  Panorama du CEPII
    N°2019-01, février 2019

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     Fields of expertise

    Competitiveness & Growth