GTFS: Global Trends and Future Scenarios Index

The Global Distribution of Income in 2050


Several recent papers have explored the history of the global income distribution and point to some improvements: a falling global Gini coefficient, a falling poverty rate, and falling poverty headcounts. This paper uses the simple accounting procedure (SAP) discussed by Bhalla [Bhalla, S. S. (2002). Imagine there’s no country: Poverty, inequality and growth in the era of globalization. Washington, DC: Institute for International Economics] and the International Futures Model [Hughes, B. B., & Hillebrand, E. E. (2006). Exploring and shaping international futures. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers] to project the global distribution of income in 2015 and 2050. The results suggest that unless the OECD countries start growing more slowly than is now commonly assumed or broad swaths of the developing world substantially improve their economic performance beyond that experienced in the last 25 years, the global income distribution will soon start to worsen again.

Year Published:
Evan Hillebrand
University of Kentucky