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UNSC's Side Event: Prosperity gap and the number of countries with high inequality

January 29, 2024

You can download the speakers' presentation here.

Event description

This event is part of the 55th Session of United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) side events and will focus on the UNSC’s “Data and indicators for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” agenda item. The World Bank’s Development Data Group is organizing the event.

Since 2013, the World Bank has monitored “shared prosperity” as one of its Twin Goals alongside “ending extreme poverty”. This goal aims to provide an “alternative to average income as the benchmark for progress” judging progress by comparing how much the growth is reaching the least well-off in society. The new corporate mission indicators attempt to better capture the growth of the least well off in society and track the number of countries with high inequality. 

The event will introduce two new indicators to measure shared prosperity and inequality. The World Bank proposed these new corporate mission indicators at the Annual Meetings in October 2023 to replace the current World Bank measure of shared prosperity (“boost growth in the bottom 40%”). The first measure is the prosperity gap, which captures the average factor by which individual incomes need to increase to attain a prosperity standard of $25 per day. It is a measure that gives increasingly greater weight to poorer people, providing statistical support to the notion of “leave no one behind”. The second measure is tracking the number of countries with high inequality, defined by the Gini index. 


Christoph Lakner is the Program Manager for Global Poverty and Inequality Data in the Development Data Group (Indicators and Data Services team) at the World Bank. His research interests include inequality, poverty, and labor markets in developing countries. In particular, he has been working on global inequality, the relationship between inequality of opportunity and growth, implications of regional price differences for inequality, and the income composition of top incomes. Christoph is also involved in the World Bank’s global poverty monitoring: he leads the Poverty and Inequality Data team in the Development Data Group, which co-produces the Poverty and Inequality Platform (PIP), the home of the World Bank’s global poverty numbers. Christoph holds a D.Phil., M.Phil. and B.A. in Economics from the University of Oxford. 

Nishant Yonzan is an Economist with the Development Data Group at the World Bank. His work involves improving the monitoring of global poverty and inequality, including managing the Poverty and Inequality Platform, the home of the World Bank’s global poverty numbers. He is interested in measuring poverty and inequality and understanding the relationship between institutions, inequality, and conflict. Nishant  holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Event details

  • DATE: 9 a.m. ET, January 29, 2024