Inequality Among World Citizens: 1820-1992

Posted: 13 Dec 2002

See all articles by Francois Bourguignon

Francois Bourguignon

Paris School of Economics

Christian Morrisson

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne


This paper investigates the distribution of well being among world citizens during the last two centuries. The estimates show that inequality of world distribution of income worsened from the beginning of the 19th century to World War II and after that seems to have stabilized or to have grown more slowly. In the early 19th century most inequality was due to differences within countries; later, it was due to differences between countries. Inequality in longevity, also increased during the 19th century, but then was reversed in the second half of the 20th century, perhaps mitigating the failure of income inequality to improve in the last decades.

JEL Classification: D31, F0, N0, O0

Suggested Citation

Bourguignon, François and Morrisson, Christian, Inequality Among World Citizens: 1820-1992. Available at SSRN:

François Bourguignon (Contact Author)

Paris School of Economics ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014

Christian Morrisson

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne

12, place du Panthéon
Paris, IL

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