Corrado Gini (May 23, 1884 – March 13, 1965) was an Italian statistician, demographer and sociologist who developed the Gini coefficient, a measure of the income inequality in a society. Gini was also a leading fascist theorist and ideologue who wrote The Scientific Basis of Fascism in 1927. Gini was a proponent of the concept of organicism and applied it to nations.
Gini was born on May 23, 1884 in Motta di Livenza, near Treviso, into an old landed family. He entered the Faculty of Law at the University of Bologna, where in addition to law he studied mathematics, economics, and biology. His subsequent scientific work ran in two directions, towards the social sciences, and towards statistics. His interests ranged well beyond the formal aspects of statistics to the laws that govern biological and social phenomena.
His first published work was, Il sesso dal punto di vista statistico (1908) This work is a thorough review of the natal sex ratio looking at past theories and at how new hypothesis fit the statistical data. In particular, it presents evidence that the tendency to produce one or other sex of child is to some extent heritable.
In 1910 he acceded to the Chair of Statistics in the University of Cagliari and then at Padua in 1913.
He founded the statistical journal Metron in 1920 which he directed until his death and which never accepted articles that did not have practical applications.
He became a professor at the University of Rome in 1925. At the University, he founded a lecture course on sociology, which he maintained until his retirement. He also set up the School of Statistics, in 1928, and, in 1936, the Faculty of Statistical, Demographic and Actuarial Sciences.
In 1929 Gini founded the Italian Committee for the Study of Population Problems (Comitato italiano per lo studio dei problemi della popolazione) which, two years later, organised the first Population Congress in Rome.
In 1926 he was appointed President of the Central Institute of Statistics in Rome. This he organised as a single centre for Italian statistical services. He resigned in 1932 in protest at interference in his work by the fascist state.
Corrado Gini died in the early hours of March 13, 1965.
Organicism and nations
Gini was a proponent of organicism and saw nations as organic in nature. Gini shared the view held by Oswald Spengler that populations go through a cycle of birth, growth, and decay. Gini claimed that as nations at a primitive level have a high birth rate but as they evolve, the upper classes birth rate drops while the lower class birth rate, while higher, will inevitably deplete as their stronger members emigrate, die in war, or enter into the upper classes. If a nation continues on this path without resistance, Gini claimed the nation would enter a final decadent stage where the nation would degenerate as noted by decreasing birth rate, decreasing cultural output, and the lack of imperial conquest. At this point the decadent nation with its aging population can be overrun by a more youthful and vigorous nation. Gini's organicist theories of nations and natality are believed to have influenced policies of Italian Fascism.
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