Module 5: Economic Inequality and Pro-Poor Growth
March 3-4, 2011
The World Bank
Objective: This is the fifth module in a larger course on poverty and distribution, offered annually by DECRG to World Bank staff. This module focuses on economic inequality: its domain, measurement, history, theory and empirics. The course begins with a brief conceptual discussion of what types of economic inequalities we have in mind, followed by an overview of how measures of income and consumption should (and should not) be constructed in practice. Summary measures of inequality and their properties are presented and evaluated. Inequality decomposition and its connection to the measurement of inequality of opportunity is examined. The course then moves to empirical studies of inequality and some theory regarding what forces "move" inequality: first in history and preindustrial societies, then in modern societies over the last thirty years, and finally globally. It also raises the issue of whether high global inequality should be a legitimate policy concern or not. The discussion of pro-poor growth asks what makes some growth episodes more beneficial to the poor than others. The module concludes with a hands-on demonstration of how the key inequality concepts introduced earlier can be easily applied in operational work by using the new software Adept produced by DECRG.