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Alex Cobham

Alex Cobham

Alex Cobham is a research fellow at the Center for Global Development in Europe. His research focuses on illicit financial flows, effective taxation for development, and inequality. He joined CGD in Europe in March 2013 from Save the Children UK, where he was head of research. He was previously at Christian Aid, and before that he was a researcher at Queen Elizabeth House (the Department of International Development at Oxford University), and a junior economics fellow at St Anne’s College, Oxford University. Cobham is the author or co-author of a range of academic papers, policy reports, and book chapters, including some of the first estimates of the costs of illicit financial flows for developing countries. He is a member of the advisory group to the global consultation on inequalities within the post-2015 development framework.

Progressive policies and the Palma

The failure of effective direct taxation is the central explanation for much higher final income inequality. Therefore Cobham and Sumner argue in favour of more fairness in tax systems through metrics.

Palma vs Gini: measuring post-2015 inequality

Given the over-sensitivity of the Gini to the middle of the distribution, and the insensitivity of the Palma, policymakers could consider a choice between the two: which aspect of the distribution are you more concerned with?

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