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The Gini index, poverty and access to education.


I often say: “I love Economics” and I see this statement causes jaw dropping effects, because it sounds weird. During my experience at the Uopeople I studied the Gini index, that represented one of my favorite subjects, particularly during the courses of “Microeconomics”, “Macroeconomics” and “Principles of Economics”. This index helps to understand social inequalities and the distribution of wealth, it ranges from 0 to 1; specifically, a fair result is in proximity of 0. I checked the situation of my Country and I compared it to others; I even checked the political Government that ruled at that times and I got a general idea of those who increased the inequalities or, in the contrary, performed better.

The Gini index is the result you get after 

calculating the distance between the Lorenz Curve and the optimal value, but I don’t want to make this more complicated. You can read a great explanation at chapter 18 of the free textbook I used during the course of “Macroeconomics” (see references at the end of this article).

Examples of Countries experiencing inequalities (high rates) are the Sub-Saharian Countries or Argentina, Bolivia and Honduras (cit. CIA website). Examples of Countries achieving important results are Scandinavia and Norway (cit. Worldbank).

There are so many different ways in which we can fight poverty in our communities and school education represents an optimal solution. In the late 1905, the economist Max O. Lorenz created the graph, although the problem is still unsolved, because of the mobility issue. In the past times, family incomes showed positive tendencies, but starting from the 1990’s, mobility has declined because of a few elements, like family structures (lots of families headed by single women), technological gaps or tax policies (cit. Textbook).

Knowledge is — and will remain — the most powerful currency, and economic mobility continues to be contingent, in large part, on access to quality education” this recent statement from Drew Faust, President of Harvard, triggered my desire to tell more about my experience (now finished) at Uopeople.

In the same article from the World Economic Forum, she states: But confronting and addressing inequality requires far more than educating the relatively small share of the total population that we welcome to our campuses each year. The relatively recent proliferation of on-line learning opportunities has enabled universities to reach people around the world in ways that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. Some six million students have enrolled in more than 650 courses provided by edX, a platform co-founded by Harvard and MIT, and they represent just a fraction of individuals who have discovered communities of like-minded learners on-line. These efforts do more than share knowledge far beyond our campuses. They encourage and test new approaches and methods, and they create unprecedented amounts of data that are shedding light on the most effective methods of teaching and learning”.

Today I realize the historical value of the University of the People and the huge possibility they’re offering to the society; that means, I studied for years without the necessity to ask for a loan, and today I’m telling you about the Gini index and the power of on-line education.

Thank you Shai Reshef.

Mirna Rossi

Background music: “Lazarus”, by David Bowie


Textbook. Rittenberg, L., & Tregarthen, T. (n.d.). Chapter 18. Retrieved January 22nd, 2016, from http://catalog.flatworldknowledge.com/catalog/editions/rittenmacro-principles-of-macroeconomics-1-0

D. Gilpin Faust. (January, 2016). Can education beat inequality? Retrieved at: http://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/can-education-beat-inequality?utm_content=buffer015f8&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

CIA. The World fact book.Retrieved at: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2172.html

The World Bank. Income share held by lowest 20%. Retrieved at: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SI.DST.FRST.20


3 thoughts on “The Gini index, poverty and access to education.

  1. Excellent article Mirna. My country has high rate of inequalities and it looks that the problem increases more and more. From my perspective education is the key to overcome this problem.


    • Hi Jonathan, you represent a real proof of the effectiveness of uopeople. You are a teacher and you benefitted from that experience, so I really appreciate you words. Are you still teaching Economics in Bogotà?


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