Quantifying invariant features of within-group inequality in consumption across groups

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


  • Anindya S. Chakrabarti
  • Arnab Chatterjee
  • Tushar Nandi
  • Asim Ghosh
  • Anirban Chakraborti

Research units

  • Indian Institute of Management
  • Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics
  • CTRPFP, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, R1 Baishnabghata Patuli Township
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University


We study unit-level expenditure on consumption across multiple countries and multiple years, in order to extract invariant features of consumption distribution. We show that the bulk of it is lognormally distributed, followed by a power law tail at the limit. The distributions coincide with each other under normalization by mean expenditure and log scaling even though the data is sampled across multiple dimension including, e.g. time, social structure and locations. This phenomenon indicates that the dispersions in consumption expenditure across various social and economic groups are significantly similar subject to suitable scaling and normalization. Further, the results provide a measurement of the core distributional features. Other descriptive factors including those of sociological, demographic and political nature, add further layers of variation on the this core distribution. We present a stochastic multiplicative model to quantitatively characterize the invariance and the distributional features.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469–490
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Consumption distribution, Inequality, Invariance, Lognormal distribution, Power law

ID: 10994855