Monitoring and measuring horizontal inequalities.


While the field of measuring vertical inequality (VI, i.e. inequality among individuals in a society) is well developed and sophisticated, much less attention has been paid to measuring horizontal inequalities (HI), or inequalities among groups in a society. This paper proposes ways of measuring and monitoring horizontal inequalities.

After an introduction, the paper briefly discusses why and when group inequalities matter. Section 3 considers problems in categorising groups, selecting dimensions of HIs and finding data. In measuring societal HIs for a society three issues need to be considered: first, how to aggregate inequalities across groups when there are more than two groups; secondly, how to take the whole distribution of variables of interest of each group into account, rather than compare the means alone; and thirdly, whether (and how) to arrive at a multidimensional index or indices of HIs. Section 4 considers problems in arriving at aggregate measures of HIs in a society where there are multiple groups and Section 5 discusses how the whole distribution might be taken into account in estimating HIs. Both propose specific measures and illustrate these empirically. Section 6 briefly discusses the question of multidimensional indices for HIs. Finally, Section 7 presents conclusions.


Oxford, UK: Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity (CRISE). CRISE Overview No. 4, 46 pp.

Monitoring and measuring horizontal inequalities.

Help us improve GOV.UK

Don’t include personal or financial information, eg your National Insurance number or credit card details.