OECD Statistics Working Papers

The OECD Statistics Working Paper Series - managed by the OECD Statistics and Data Directorate – is designed to make available in a timely fashion and to a wider readership selected studies prepared by staff in the Secretariat or by outside consultants working on OECD projects. The papers included are of a technical, methodological or statistical policy nature and relate to statistical work relevant to the organisation. The Working Papers are generally available only in their original language - English or French - with a summary in the other.

Joint Working Papers:

Testing the evidence, how good are public sector responsiveness measures and how to improve them? (with OECD Public Governance Directorate)

Measuring Well-being and Progress in Countries at Different Stages of Development: Towards a More Universal Conceptual Framework (with OECD Development Centre)

Measuring and Assessing Job Quality: The OECD Job Quality Framework (with OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs)

Forecasting GDP during and after the Great Recession: A contest between small-scale bridge and large-scale dynamic factor models (with OECD Economics Directorate)

Decoupling of wages from productivity: Macro-level facts (with OECD Economics Directorate)

Which policies increase value for money in health care? (with OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs)

Compiling mineral and energy resource accounts according to the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) 2012 (with OECD Environment Directorate)


Inequalities in emerging economies

Informing the policy dialogue on inclusive growth

The paper describes inequality trends in selected emerging economies (Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa) in a range of monetary (i.e. income) and non-monetary dimensions of people’s life (i.e. education, health status, employment and subjective well-being). Inequalities are analysed not only in terms of overall dispersion, but also as gaps between population groups defined by specific characteristics (i.e. sex, age, educational attainment and place of living). To the extent made possible by the nature of available data, measures of income inequality for these emerging countries, as well as for 7 Latin American countries (Bolivia, Dominic Republic, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay), are based on concepts and definitions similar to those used by the OECD for its member countries. All the emerging economies covered in the paper show levels of income inequality higher than in the five most unequal OECD countries, while the picture is more mixed when it comes to inequalities in other dimensions of people’s well-being. An annex complements the analysis by presenting an assessment of the quality of the available data on income distribution for the emerging countries covered in the paper.


Keywords: database, inequality, well-being, poverty, emerging economies
JEL: I14: Health, Education, and Welfare / Health / Health and Inequality; I24: Health, Education, and Welfare / Education and Research Institutions / Education and Inequality; D31: Microeconomics / Distribution / Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions; J01: Labor and Demographic Economics / General / Labor Economics: General; D63: Microeconomics / Welfare Economics / Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement; I32: Health, Education, and Welfare / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty / Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
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