The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Gini, Corrado (1884–1965)

  • Camilo Dagum
Reference work entry


Gini, perhaps best known to economists because of the Gini Coefficient, was born in Motta di Livenza, Italy and died in Rome. He studied at the University of Bologna; his doctoral thesis Il sesso dal punto di vista statistico (1908), defended in 1905, was awarded the Vittorio Emanuele prize for social sciences. Gini distinguished himself as a teacher and a researcher. In 1909 he was appointed an assistant professor of the University of Cagliari, becoming full professor a year later. Gini won a chair at the University of Padova in 1913, then joined the University of Rome in 1925, where in 1955 he was awarded the distinction of emeritus professor. Social scientist and statistician, Gini taught economics, statistics, sociology and demography, making path-breaking contributions to these highly related disciplines. Among them we mention the neo-organicist theory (Gini 1909, 1924a) that presents a dynamic theory of society in which demographic factors (differential birth rates among social classes and social mobility) play a basic role. In this theory, Gini introduced and analysed self-conservation, self-regulative and self-re-equilibrating mechanisms, thus offering a well-structured anticipation of Wiener’s cybernetics, von Bertalanffy’s general system theory and modern disequilibrium economics. He provided new insights to the analysis of inter- and intra-national migrations (Gini 1948) and demographic dynamics (Gini 1908, 1909, 1912a, 1931). He developed a methodology to evaluate the income and wealth of nations (Gini 1914a, 1959) including a discussion of human capital, already present in his research on the causes and consequences of international migrations. In this context he specified a model of income and wealth distributions and a measure of income and wealth inequalities (Gini 1909, 1912b, 1914b, 1955). Gini’s research interests motivated important contributions to statistics and economics, such as the Gini identity (1921, 1924b) on price index numbers, the Gini mean difference (1912b), the transvariation theory (Gini 1916, 1960), the index of dissimilarity (Gini 1914c) and the Gini Coefficient. Gini founded several scientific journals, such as Metron and Genus, and academic institutions, such as the Institute and Faculty of Statistics, Demography and Actuarial Sciences of the University of Rome; and was the organizer and first president (1926–1932) of the Istituto Centrale di Statistica. An extraordinarily prolific writer and thinker, endowed with powerful new ideas that he developed in more than 70 books and 700 articles, Gini was in the 20th century a true Renaissance man.


Demography Distribution of income and wealth Gini coefficient Gini identity Gini mean difference Gini, C. Human capital Index numbers Inequality (measurement) Internal migration International migration Statistics and economics 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Camilo Dagum
    • 1
  1. 1.