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Getting real about inequality : evidence from Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru

Author: Edwin Goñi; J Humberto Lopez; Luis Serven; World Bank. Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Office. Office of the Chief Economist.
Publisher: Washington, D.C. : World Bank, Latin America and the Caribbean Region, Office of the Chief Economist, 2006.
Series: Policy research working papers, 3815.
Edition/Format:   Print book : International government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Consumption baskets vary across households and inflation rates vary across goods. As a result, standard consumer price index (CPI) inflation may provide a misleading measure of the inflation actually faced by poor households, more so the more unequal the distribution of aggregate consumption across households. Likewise, changes in observed nominal consumption inequality may be very different from those in true  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Case studies
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Goñi, Edwin.
Getting real about inequality.
Washington, D.C. : World Bank, Latin America and the Caribbean Region, Office of the Chief Economist, 2006
(OCoLC)646875734
Material Type: Government publication, International government publication, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Edwin Goñi; J Humberto Lopez; Luis Serven; World Bank. Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Office. Office of the Chief Economist.
OCLC Number: 63809797
Notes: "January 2006"--Cover.
Description: 27 pages : illustrations ; 28 cm.
Series Title: Policy research working papers, 3815.
Responsibility: Edwin Goñi, Humberto López and Luis Servén.

Abstract:

Consumption baskets vary across households and inflation rates vary across goods. As a result, standard consumer price index (CPI) inflation may provide a misleading measure of the inflation actually faced by poor households, more so the more unequal the distribution of aggregate consumption across households. Likewise, changes in observed nominal consumption inequality may be very different from those in true inequality, that is, that measured using household-specific CPIs. The authors explore empirically these issues using household data covering nine episodes from four Latin American countries (Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru). They find that in these countries standard CPI inflation typically reflects the inflation rate faced by a rich consumer located in the 80 to 90 percentile of the distribution of consumption expenditure. In most episodes the authors also find that inflation was anti-rich-that is, the inflation faced by the richest consumers was higher than the inflation faced by the poorest consumers. As a result of this bias, the observed increases in nominal inequality generally exceed the actual changes in real inequality. These results are robust to correcting for quality change bias in the CPI, to the use of alternative price indices, and to the use of alternative inequality measures.

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