Revisiting Gini for equitable humanitarian logistics

Douglas Alem*, Aakil M. Caunhye, Alfredo Moreno

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Modeling equity in the allocation of scarce resources is a fast-growing concern in the humanitarian logistics field. The Gini coefficient is one of the most widely recognized measures of inequity and it was originally characterized by means of the Lorenz curve, which is a mathematical function that links the cumulative share of income to rank-ordered groups in a population. So far, humanitarian logistics models that have approached equity using the Gini coefficient do not actually optimize its original formulation, but they use alternative definitions that do not necessarily replicate that original Gini measure. In this paper, we derive the original Gini coefficient via the Lorenz curve to optimize the effectiveness-equity trade-off in a humanitarian location-allocation problem. We also propose new valid inequalities based on a bounding Lorenz curve to tighten the linear relaxation of our model and develop a clustering-based construction of the Lorenz curve that requires fewer additional constraints and variables than the original one. The computational study, based on the floods and landslides in Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, reveals that while alternative Gini definitions have interesting properties, they can generate vastly different decisions compared to the original Gini coefficient. In addition, viewed from the perspective of the original Gini coefficient, these decisions can be significantly less equitable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101312
JournalSocio-Economic Planning Sciences
Issue numberPart B
Early online date14 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • clustering
  • disaster relief
  • equity/fairness
  • Gini
  • humanitarian logistics
  • location-allocation
  • Lorenz Curve


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