Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Food prices and poverty


I was talking to a Norwegian friend of mine a while ago and she mentioned that food in Canada costs about a quarter of what it does in Norway. This is interesting because we tend to think of Norway as a very equal society. However, I can imagine that huge food prices make being poor pretty difficult. Our standard measures of inequality, like Gini co-efficients, don't take this into account. Who knows what country is truly the kindest to its poor, but it is important to look at bit deeper into a nations micro-economy before you make judgments.

2 comments:

Patrick Ross said...

The Gini coefficient is fairly politicized as it is, and based almost purely on the specific preconceptions of those who designed it.

Personally, I put little stock in it.

RC said...

The Gini Coefficient is about as unpolitical a statistic as can be found. It can be used to measure different things but we most often use it as a rough measure of income inequality relative to complete income equality (each person or household receives the same income.

In any case, one statistic can never sum up a complex issue such as economic inequality.