Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version

February 2007


Published in Cornhusker Economics, 02/28/2007. Produced by the Cooperative Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


Economic development is “sustained progressive change to attain individual and group interests through the expanded, intensified and adjusted use of resources,” where “human welfare is the end product of the development process.”1 The previous issue of Cornhusker Economics2 used persistent poverty as one way to measure development at the communitylevel. Another way social scientists measure development is to look at how evenly income is distributed within a community. Thus, an equal distribution has ten percent of households receiving ten percent of the income, fifty percent of households receiving fifty percent of the income, and so on. Although the question of whether this distribution is fair and socially desirable is a value judgment best left in the realm of politics, it does provide a reasonable benchmark to better understand income disparities.