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The authors investigate the evolution of global welfare in two dimensions: income per capita and life expectancy. First, they estimate the marginal distributions of income and life expectancy separately. More importantly, in contrast to previous univariate approaches, they consider income and life expectancy jointly and estimate their bivariate global distribution for 137 countries during 1970 - 2000. They reach several conclusions: the global joint distribution has evolved from a bimodal into a unimodal one, the evolution of the health distribution has preceded that of income, global inequality and poverty has decreased over time and the evolution of the global distribution has been welfare improving.
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