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The impact of monetary policy on inequality in the UK. An empirical analysis

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  • Mumtaz, Haroon
  • Theophilopoulou, Angeliki

Abstract

The UK has experienced a dramatic increase in earnings and income inequality over the past four decades. We use detailed micro level information to construct quarterly historical measures of inequality from 1969 to 2012. We investigate whether monetary policy shocks played a role in explaining this increase in inequality. We find that contractionary monetary policy shocks lead to an increase in earnings, income and consumption inequality and contribute to their fluctuation. The response of income and consumption at different quantiles suggests that contractionary policy has a larger negative effect on low income households and those that consume the least when compared to those at the top of the distribution. Our evidence also suggests that the policy of quantitative easing may have contributed to the increase in inequality over the Great Recession.

Suggested Citation

  • Mumtaz, Haroon & Theophilopoulou, Angeliki, 2017. "The impact of monetary policy on inequality in the UK. An empirical analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 410-423.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:410-423
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2017.07.008
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality; Earnings; Income; SVAR; Monetary policy shocks;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit

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