What’s happening to the World Income Distribution? The Elephant Chart revisited

Delivering sustainable economic growth
Posted Apr 07, 2018 | Global Economy and Development Program, Brookings Institution, Homi Kharas, Brina Seidel

In 2013, Christoph Lakner and Branko Milanovic published a graph - dubbed the elephant chart - that depicts changes in income distribution between 1988 and 2008.  In this report by the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution, Homi Kharas and Brina Seidel examine how the four parts of the elephant chart - tail, torso, trough, and trunk- stand up to new data and new methods. They find that the global elite, in particular the top one percent, have enjoyed massive income growth; the global upper middle class has seen its incomes stagnate; the global middle class has risen rapidly; while the global extreme poor have largely been left behind, with several countries trapped in a cycle of poverty and violence. 



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