Countries show quite different income distributions depending upon their economic and social structure. Figure 19-3 shows th~ inequality of different countries as measured by the Gini coefficient. Market-oriented countries like the United States tend to have the most unequal income distributions among the high-income countries. The welfare states of northern Europe tend to have the least inequality. The sources of high inequality in the United States are discussed later in this chapter.

The experience of developing countries shows an interesting relationship. Inequality begins to rise as countries begin to industrialize, after which in equality then declines. The greatest extremes of ·inequality with conspicuous opulence appearing alongside the most abject poverty-occur in middle income countries, particularly Latin American countries like Peru, Brazil, and Venezuela.

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