Global Income Inequality


Branko Milanovic, World Bank

We are used to thinking about inequality within countries-about rich Americans versus poor Americans, for instance. But what about inequality between all citizens of the world? Worlds Apart addresses just how to measure global inequality among individuals, and shows that inequality is shaped by complex forces often working in different directions. Branko Milanovic, a top World Bank economist, analyzes income distribution worldwide using, for the first time, household survey data from more than 100 countries. He evenhandedly explains the main approaches to the problem, offers a more accurate way of measuring inequality among individuals, and discusses the relevant policies of first-world countries and nongovernmental organizations.

Inequality has increased between nations over the last half century (richer countries have generally grown faster than poorer countries). And yet the two most populous nations, China and India, have also grown fast. But over the past two decades inequality within countries has increased. As complex as reconciling these three data trends may be, it is clear: the inequality between the world's individuals is staggering. At the turn of the twenty-first century, the richest 5 percent of people receive one-third of total global income, as much as the poorest 80 percent. While a few poor countries are catching up with the rich world, the differences between the richest and poorest individuals around the globe are huge and likely growing.


About the speaker
Branko Milanovic is Lead Economist in the World Bank’s research group, where he has been working on the topics of income inequality and globalization. Previously, he was a World Bank country economist for Poland and a research fellow at the Institute of Economic Sciences in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Since 1996, Milanovic has also served as a visiting professor teaching the economics of transition at the Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies. He received his Ph.D. in economics in 1987 from Belgrade University. Milanovic is an expert in international economics, economic/market reform, economies in transition, income distribution, international financial institutions, post-Soviet economies, development, globalization, international organizations, Balkans, and Eastern Europe.

Venue: School of Governance, seminar room 009

Date: 08 May 2008

Time: 16:00 - 17:30


UNU-MERIT