Miserly Developments

Univ. of Oslo, Dept. of Economics Memorandum No. 04/2009

46 Pages Posted: 17 Mar 2009

See all articles by Jo Thori Lind

Jo Thori Lind

University of Oslo - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Karl O. Moene

University of Oslo - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 28, 2009

Abstract

In many countries extreme poverty is unnecessary. Yet it persists. We propose a simple index, denoted the Miser index, to measure the extent to which societies have poverty in the midst of affluence. It builds on the generalized Lorenz curve, but can also be seen as a measure of polarization between the rich and the poor. We calculate the index for a number of developing and emerging economies and rank them according to their revealed miserliness. We also identify important correlates of the Miser index.

Countries that score high on the index tend to be socially fractionalized, bureaucratically inefficient, and politically corrupt. They provide their citizens with a low level of health care and education. Democracy and high growth rates do not moderate miserliness.

Finally, considering the world as a single entity, we find a dramatic rise in global miserliness over the last 30 years.

Keywords: Miser index, poverty, affluence, inequality, development

JEL Classification: D31, D63, F35, I32, O15

Suggested Citation

Lind, Jo Thori and Moene, Karl O., Miserly Developments (January 28, 2009). Univ. of Oslo, Dept. of Economics Memorandum No. 04/2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1361464 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1361464

Jo Thori Lind (Contact Author)

University of Oslo - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 1095 Blindern
N-0317 Oslo
Norway

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Karl O. Moene

University of Oslo - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 1095 Blindern
N-0317 Oslo
Norway
+47 22855130 (Phone)
+47 22855035 (Fax)

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