Chapter

Inequality as a Quasi‐Ordering

Amartya Sen

in On Economic Inequality

Published in print December 1973 | ISBN: 9780198281931
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191715815 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198281935.003.0003
 Inequality as a Quasi‐Ordering

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It is argued that the difficulty of using the positive and normative measures of inequality described in the previous chapter arises from the fact that they are ‘complete’ measures. Each of these measures may give absurd results, because they aim to give a complete‐ordering representation to a concept that is essentially one of partial ranking. Hence, a weakening of the inequality measures to a mixture of partly descriptive and partly normative considerations is proposed. A number of reasons for taking inequality rankings as quasi‐orderings rather than complete orderings are suggested.

Keywords: descriptive measures; economic inequality; inequality; measurement; normative measures; positive measures; quasi‐ordering; ranking

Chapter.  10137 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Economics

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