Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Where the Poor get Poorer

I had some fun with Gapminder Desktop on Owen Barder's suggestion. In both Nigeria and the United States, the rich got richer from 1980 to 2002.* The rich tend to be able to do that. But where did the poor get poorer and where are they (minimally) better off in absolute terms? While I would like to be able to superimpose the same country on top of itself in two different years, these pictures will have to do and I think the differences are large enough to eyeball.

That's what it looks like, so you can recognize it should you see it again.

The difference in world income distribution between 1980 and 2000 is also fascinating.

* - The usual caveats: This is not panel data. We don't actually know whether each individual rich person got richer and so forth. We're talking about the incomes of the people on the far right tail and the far left tail, whoever they happen to be.

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