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Inequality in Indonesia: What can we learn from top incomes?

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  • Leigh, Andrew
  • van der Eng, Pierre

Abstract

Abstract Using taxation and household survey data, this paper estimates top income shares for Indonesia during 1920-2004. Our results suggest that top income shares grew during the 1920s and 1930s, but fell in the post-war era. We observe a sharp rise in top income shares during the late-1990s, coinciding with the 1997-98 economic crisis. Where comparable data are available, top income shares in Indonesia are generally higher than in other countries, a finding that is at odds with the view that Indonesia is a relatively egalitarian society. This suggests that top income shares may provide a more complete picture of developing country inequality in comparative perspective.

Suggested Citation

  • Leigh, Andrew & van der Eng, Pierre, 2009. "Inequality in Indonesia: What can we learn from top incomes?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 209-212, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:93:y:2009:i:1-2:p:209-212
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. DAVIES, JAMES B & Shorrocks, Anthony & Sandstrom, Susanna & WOLFF, EDWARD N, 2007. "The World Distribution of Household Wealth," Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, Working Paper Series qt3jv048hx, Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, UC Santa Cruz.
    2. C. Peter Timmer, 2004. "The road to pro-poor growth: the Indonesian experience in regional perspective," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(2), pages 177-207.
    3. Facundo Alvaredo, 2007. "The Rich in Argentina over the twentieth century: From the Conservative Republic to the Peronist experience and beyond 1932-2004," PSE Working Papers halshs-00588318, HAL.
    4. Ragayah Haji Mat Zin, 2005. "Income Distribution in East Asian Developing Countries: recent trends," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 19, pages 36-54, November.
    5. Hill,Hal, 2000. "The Indonesian Economy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521663670, April.
    6. Michael D. Bordo & Alan M. Taylor & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2003. "Introduction to "Globalization in Historical Perspective"," NBER Chapters,in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 1-10 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Anthony B. Atkinson & Wiemer Salverda, 2005. "Top Incomes In The Netherlands And The United Kingdom Over The 20th Century," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(4), pages 883-913, June.
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    Keywords

    Inequality Top incomes Personal income taxation Indonesia;

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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