The measurement of social polarization in a multi-group context


Polarization indices presented up to now have only focused their attention on the distribution of income/wealth. However, in many circumstances income is not the only relevant dimension that might be the cause of social conflict, so it is very important to have a social polarization index able to cope with alternative dimensions. In this paper we present an axiomatic characterization of one of such indices: it has been obtained as an extension of the (income) polarization measure introduced in Duclos, Esteban and Ray (2004) to a wider domain. It turns out that the axiomatic structure introduced in that paper alone is not appropriate to obtain a fully satisfactory characterization of our measure, so additional axioms are proposed. As a byproduct, we present an alternative axiomatization of the aforementioned income polarization measure.