Discussion paper

DP12920 Well-being Inequality in the Long Run

This paper provides a long-run view of well-being inequality at world scale based on a new historical dataset. Trends in social dimensions alter the view on inequality derived from per capita GDP. While in terms of income, inequality increased until the third quarter of the twentieth century; in terms of well-being, inequality fell steadily since World War I. The spread of mass primary education and the health transitions were its main drivers. The gap between the West and the Rest explains only partially the evolution of well-being inequality, as the dispersion within the developing regions has increasingly determined its evolution.


Prados de la Escosura, L (2018), ‘DP12920 Well-being Inequality in the Long Run ‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 12920. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp12920