Income and Wealth Inequality Within and Between Regions

The measurement of interpersonal inequality is a well-established research field. Recent advances in this area have stressed the importance of both cross-country comparable income and wealth aggregates and perspectives that go beyond mere summary inequality indices, such as the Gini index, to track distributional change at the bottom, the middle, and the top of the distribution. In recent years, research in economics, in particular, has proposed methods to obtain more adequate measures of income and wealth aggregates and characterizations of changes in inequality along the entire distribution. Little of this progress, however, has been applied to income and wealth inequality at the sub-national scale. At the same time, economics and the regional sciences have pointed to the substantial spatial variation in interpersonal inequality across space. Studies on inequality between regions, however, frequently are confined to a comparison of mean or median outcomes, thereby ignoring interpersonal inequality. Little is understood about the interlinkages between inequality within regions, i.e. interpersonal inequality at the sub-national scale, and inequality between regions. While the increased availability of “large-N” administrative data facilitates such approaches, the endeavor is more complex in terms of wealth inequality as “small-n” survey data are the only available source for most countries. On top of that, differences in local price levels and in the provision of public resources, such as health care or education, the choice of the appropriate spatial scale and inter-scalar relationships complicate geographic comparisons but have received little research attention.

This session offers a platform to discuss research on the theoretical and conceptual advances of inter-scalar inequality research, measurement issues in the field of inequality within and between regions. In particular, we welcome contributions to the following topics: