Journal of Development Studies 47 (9), 2011, pages 1332-1352.
We measure the level of poverty in the midst of affluence using what we denote the miser index. We calculate the index of poverty-induced polarization for a number of countries. The most miserly countries are in Southern Africa and Latin America. Miserly countries tend to be socially fractionalized, bureaucratically inefficient, and politically corrupt. They provide low levels of health care and education. Considering the world as a single entity, we find a dramatic rise in global miserliness over the last 30 years going from the level of Colombia to that of South Africa.