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How are wages distributed globally? Wages do not follow a normal distribution, do they? Is wealth distributed in the same way or differently?

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  • $\begingroup$ Since wages cannot be negative, I would rather say that they follow a log-normal, truncated at the minimum (nominal) wages, or exponential maybe. I have no sources though. Also, if any answer does what you want, please consider ticking it as correct. A reputation of 1 is enough to do it. I remind you this because newcomers often forget to do so. See What should I do when someone answers my question? That being said, welcome on EC. $\endgroup$ – keepAlive Jan 5 at 11:38
  • $\begingroup$ Related: economics.stackexchange.com/questions/13097/… $\endgroup$ – Henry Jan 5 at 23:13
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Globally, there is Lakner and Milanovik (2015)'s elephant graph:

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Hellebrandt and Mauro (2015)

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Thus, the two previous distributions look like bimodal log-normal distributions.


or CDFs, as in MacAskill's book Doing Good Better

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Did not find something strictly related to wages. For most of people, income may be a good proxy of wages.

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    $\begingroup$ I think it's fair to equate (gross) income to wages for the vast majority of the world population $\endgroup$ – E. Sommer Jan 5 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ Any question @ragingacademic ? $\endgroup$ – keepAlive Oct 17 at 11:33
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Both distributions are often modelled log-normal, with a substantial number of zeros. A pareto distribution is also sometimes used (Piketty & Saez (2012), p.32) for modelling the distribution of top incomes. Wealth distributions are also in general far more skewed than wage (or income) distributions.

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