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Is Global Inequality Getting Better or Worse?: A Critique of the World Bank’s Convergence Narrative

Hickel, Jason. 2017. Is Global Inequality Getting Better or Worse?: A Critique of the World Bank’s Convergence Narrative. Third World Quarterly, 38(10), pp. 2208-2222. ISSN 0143-6597 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The dominant narrative of global income inequality is one of convergence. Recent high-profile publications by Branko Milanovic and the World Bank claim that the global Gini coefficient has declined since 1988, and that inter-country inequality has declined since 1960. But the convergence narrative relies on a misleading presentation of the data. It obscures the fact that convergence is driven mostly by China; it fails to acknowledge rising absolute inequality; and it ignores divergence between geopolitical regions. This paper suggests alternative measures that bring geopolitics back in by looking at the gap between the core and periphery of the world system. From this perspective, global inequality has tripled since 1960.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2017.1333414

Keywords:

Inequality, development, convergence, divergence, neoliberalism, structural adjustment

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Anthropology

Dates:

DateEvent
15 June 2017Published Online
18 May 2017Accepted

Item ID:

22006

Date Deposited:

14 Nov 2017 16:04

Last Modified:

10 Jul 2018 05:51

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/22006

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