world growth

world growth

Friday, November 20, 2009

India or China: whose household is wealthier?



Plenty of research has been done on the inequality of per capita income between countries and also on income inequality within a country. The Gini coefficient is often used to measure the level of inequality, with a low number indicating low inequality while a high number indicates a high degree of inequality.

The index lies between 0 and 100 with 0 denoting absolute equality and 100 absolute inequality. The United Nation’s latest Human Development Report, for instance, puts the Gini index for India in 2007 at 36.8, better than China’s 41.5. The richest 10% of the Indian population gets 31.1% of the country’s income, while the poorest 10% get 3.6%. But economists such as Pranab Bardhan, professor at the University of California at Berkeley, have for long pointed out that while income inequality may be comparatively low in India, inequalities in wealth are far harsher. But data on wealth are much harder to get.

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For China, wealth per adult was estimated at $19,056 in 2000. That makes an average Chinese one a half times as wealthy as an average Indian. But if we take gross domestic product (GDP) per adult instead of per adult wealth, then the income of an average Chinese was only 1.18 times as much as that of an average Indian in 2000. The study says that India’s share of global GDP was 5.9% in 2000, while its share of global wealth was 4.2%.

Even more interesting are the estimates of wealth inequalities within countries. In India, for example, the top 10% of the population had 52.9% of the country’s wealth in 2002-03, while the top 1% had 15.7%. China was more egalitarian, with the top 10% owning 41.4% of the nation’s wealth. The Gini coefficient for wealth in India is 0.669, against 0.550 for China. Wealth is distributed very unevenly in the US, with the top 10% getting 69.8% of the country’s wealth and the top 1% own 32.7%. The Gini index for the US is a very high 0.801.

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http://www.livemint.com/2009/11/20213827/India-or-China-whose-househol.html?h=B

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