I am looking for an objective way of measuring the "asymmetry" (the overall level of difference) of the GDP per Capita in groups of countries involved in an international agreement. So far, the best measures I found are the variance, the Gini coefficient and the maximum divided by the average. Do you know any better way of measuring this? If not, which one of these measures would be the best in your opinion?

  • $\begingroup$ This question feels a bit opinion-based. Which is "the best" way to measure dispersion? There is surely not a "best way". Maybe some are more common than others, or fit a certain context better than others. I suggest a rephrase of the question. $\endgroup$
    – luchonacho
    Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 7:24

1 Answer 1


To improve the explanation of asymmetries you could add:

  • You can look at the standard deviation, and see how the GDP of a certain country is compared to the average +/- standard deviation
  • You can make subgroups of the countries analysed and compare their averages to the target country. One example of subgroup is the country total population: could be the main explanation of asymmetries for Lichtenstein and Luxemburg to have such high GDPs per capita
  • Compare the specific elements of the GDP, if the data is available (C vs C + G vs G...)

The best measure depends on what specifically do you want to measure.

If you want to measure the asymmetry per se, then you can focus on alternative indicators and descriptive statistics, as you suggested.


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