Measuring Lnequality in the Middle East 1990–2016: The World's Most Unequal Region?

27 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2020

See all articles by Facundo Alvaredo

Facundo Alvaredo

Ecole Normale Superieure (PSE-ENS)

Lydia Assouad

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Thomas Piketty

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Date Written: December 2019

Abstract

In this paper we combine household surveys, national accounts, income tax data and wealth data in order to estimate income concentration in the Middle East for the period 1990–2016. According to our benchmark series, the Middle East appears to be the most unequal region in the world, with a top decile income share as large as 64 percent, compared to 37 percent in Western Europe, 47 percent in the US and 55 percent in Brazil (see Alvaredo et al. 2018). This is due both to enormous inequality between countries (particularly between oil‐rich and population‐rich countries) and to large inequality within countries (which we probably under‐estimate, given the limited access to proper fiscal data). We stress the importance of increasing transparency on income and wealth in the Middle East, as well as the need to develop mechanisms of regional redistribution and investment.

Keywords: inequality, Middle East, top incomes

Suggested Citation

Alvaredo, Facundo and Assouad, Lydia and Piketty, Thomas, Measuring Lnequality in the Middle East 1990–2016: The World's Most Unequal Region? (December 2019). Review of Income and Wealth, Vol. 65, Issue 4, pp. 685-711, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3619344 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/roiw.12385

Facundo Alvaredo (Contact Author)

Ecole Normale Superieure (PSE-ENS) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
75014 Paris
France

Lydia Assouad

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

Thomas Piketty

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

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