Global inequality has been falling in the last quarter century. However, this trend appears to have been driven entirely by convergence in GDP per capita across nations. Inequality within countries remained roughly constant in the 1990s, and has been rising since 2000. This increase in average within-country inequality arises from a very heterogeneous picture across countries and regions.
UNU-WIDER’s Inequality in the Giants project is part of a broader international effort designed to shed light on a set of new questions on between-country and within-country inequalities, by generating integrated datasets and applying a consistent methodology to investigate the determinants of inequality dynamics in ten of the world’s largest economies: Brazil, China, France, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the UK, and the US. The project components concentrate on studying inequality in Mexico, South Africa, and India.
Recognizing the limitations of both household surveys and anonymized tax-record data (where it is available) to generate a comprehensive and accurate picture of the entire income distribution in most of these countries on their own, the project will comprise two stages. The first stage focuses on collating, harmonizing and improving the data. While the second stage aims to analyse the determinants of distributional change within each of these countries. A major goal of this project is to establish data prerequisites and appropriate methodological frameworks that will be foundational in undertaking this kind of work in a broader range of countries.