Home > Uncategorized > Graphics from 4 empirical muckrakers – 4. Branko Milanović — Ancient Inequality

Graphics from 4 empirical muckrakers – 4. Branko Milanović — Ancient Inequality

from Blair Fix

Branko Milanović is the oracle of ancient inequality. He has muckraked to compile inequality data for many pre-industrial societies. Here’s a chart of inequality versus GDP per capita for ancient societies:

milanovic
Ancient Inequality Data from Branko Milanović. (Source)

The curved line is the ‘inequality possibility frontier’. This is the maximum inequality that is achievable at the given level of production. I have my own ideas about what creates an inequality frontier — I think it has to do with the growth of hierarchy. I’ll write about these ideas later. But I’m glad that Milanović has done the tedious muckraking so that I can come along and do ‘high theory’. Kudos to Milanović.

… And many others

This has been a brief tour of the empirical muckrakers who I admire. There are countless others doing important work. So don’t send me an angry email if I didn’t put you on the list.

  1. Alonso
    December 1, 2019 at 7:44 am

    Gini index and GDI per capita (in 1990 $PPP!) for Serbia in year 1455! England 1290! I would never trust such data! The possible sources of errors and insecurity are so many, that make such calculation a nonsense.

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