The Formula: How the Gini Index came to define how we think about inequality

… The Gini renders what everyone has been talking about for the past couple of years—inequality—in terms of a single, elegant number. …

It’s been so useful, so adaptable, that its strange history has survived only as a footnote: the coefficient was developed in 1912 by Corrado Gini, an Italian sociologist and statistician—who also wrote a paper called “The Scientific Basis of Fascism.” …

It’s been a strange journey for this versatile metric, which was conceived as a way to create statistical correspondence between newly rich urban Italian industrialists and the illiterate peasants who were isolated in the countryside, beyond the reach of roads or radios. [cont.]

Lisa Margonelli, Pacific Standard