Spatial approaches to measure subnational inequality: Implications for Sustainable Development Goals

Richard J. Smith, Sergio J. Rey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


The United Nations expressed an interest in reducing subnational (i.e., province and state level) inequality. We propose using a spatial decomposition of the Gini coefficient (SDGC) to track changes in subnational inequality. Typically, agencies do not track summary measures of subnational clustering of development indicators. Tracking changes in the SDGC can help measure and reduce regional inequality. To illustrate the use of the SDGC, we first present data for 93 nations to obtain cross-sectional variation. Next, to illustrate how the SDGC trends over time, changes in the Human Development Index in Mongolia are compared to Russia and China. The SDGC can show improvement, decline and persistent clustering of subnational level inequality. The SDGC is a useful measure for the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDevelopment Policy Review
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • Human development
  • Inequality
  • Spatial analysis
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • United Nations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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