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date: 01 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article highlights ambiguities and indeterminacies in our knowledge about growth, inequality, and poverty, stemming in particular from measurement difficulties and from differences in measures of what is ostensibly the same thing (“poverty,” “inequality”). It examines global income distribution, patterns of economic growth, the movement of countries in the global income hierarchy, trends in income distribution between countries and between individuals or households, and trends in the incidence of “extreme” and “ordinary” poverty. The article begins with a snapshop of world income and population distribution, followed by a discussion on growth and geographical distribution. It then considers income inequality within countries, along with income inequality between countries and all people. It shows that the global income distribution is still highly polarized and that the proportion of the world’s population living in the degree of poverty which kills—“extreme poverty”—has probably fallen over the past several decades.

Keywords: income distribution, economic growth, ordinary poverty, extreme poverty, population distribution, poverty, income inequality

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