Growing (Un)Equal: Fiscal Policy and Income Inequality in China and BRIC

27 Pages Posted: 5 May 2015

See all articles by Serhan Cevik

Serhan Cevik

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Carolina Correa-Caro

Universidad Central - Economics Department

Date Written: March 2015


This paper investigates the empirical characteristics of income inequality in China and a panel of BRIC countries over the period 1980–2013, with a focus on the redistributive contribution of fiscal policy. Using instrumental variable techniques to deal with potential endogeneity, we find evidence supporting the hypothesis of the existence of a Kuznets curve - an inverted Ushaped relationship between income inequality and economic development - in China and the panel of BRIC countries. In the case of China, the empirical results indicate that government spending and taxation have opposing effects on income inequality. While government spending appears to have a worsening impact, taxation improves income distribution. Even though the redistributive effect of fiscal policy in China appears to be stronger than what we identify in the BRIC panel, it is not large enough to compensate for the adverse impact of other influential factors.

Keywords: Income inequality, China, Brazil, Russian Federation, India, Fiscal policy, Income distribution, Economic growth, Cross country analysis, Time series, Panel analysis, household income, poverty, poor, rural

JEL Classification: H50, O10

Suggested Citation

Cevik, Serhan and Correa-Caro, Carolina, Growing (Un)Equal: Fiscal Policy and Income Inequality in China and BRIC (March 2015). IMF Working Paper No. 15/68, Available at SSRN:

Serhan Cevik (Contact Author)

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

700 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20431
United States

Carolina Correa-Caro

Universidad Central - Economics Department ( email )


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