Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Gini Coefficient

The Formula - Pacific Standard

 '' The Gini renders what everyone has been talking about for the past couple of years—inequality—in terms of a single, elegant number. 


It’s been so useful, so adaptable, that its strange history has survived only as a footnote: the coefficient was developed in 1912 by Corrado Gini, an Italian sociologist and statistician—who also wrote a paper called “The Scientific Basis of Fascism.” After running Italy’s Central Institute of Statistics under Mussolini, Gini eventually had a falling-out with the fascist state, but he remained a control freak to the end of his life. In the 1950s, at his own statistics institute in Rome, he made his professors and assistants work “in small glass boxes, fitted with a microphone which Gini could use to listen and talk, but the occupier of the box could only reply if spoken to,” according to a professor who worked there. To Gini, statistics—including his famous coefficient—were a way for states to see beyond the “noise” of individual feelings and agendas, channeling human and material resources to become more powerful.''

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