Politics, Philosophy and Economics 14 (2):187-208 (2015)

Ted Everett
State University of New York at Geneseo
Gini coefficients, which measure gross inequalities rather than their unfair components, are often used as proxy measures of absolute or relative distributive injustice in Western societies. This presupposes that the fair inequalities in these societies are small and stable enough to be ignored. This article presents a model for a series of ideal, perfectly just societies, where comfortable lives are equally available to everyone, and calculates the Gini coefficients for each. According to this model, inequalities produced by age and other demographic factors, together with reasonable choices under equal opportunity, can raise the Gini coefficients for perfectly just societies to levels at least as high as those of any current Western country, and can as easily account for differences in Gini coefficients between such societies or within one such society over time. If Gini coefficients at these levels are possible for ideal societies without distributive injustice, then they should not be used as proxy measures of distributive injustice in real societies
Keywords justice  Gini coefficient  equality  distributive justice  redistribution  fairness  ideal society
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/1470594X14528653
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Justice Between the Young and the Old.Dennis Mckerlie - 2001 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 30 (2):152-177.
How Gifts and Gambles Preserve Justice.Andrew Williams - 2013 - Economics and Philosophy 29 (1):65-85.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
274 ( #34,568 of 2,449,149 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #222,745 of 2,449,149 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes