IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/10068.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Measuring Top Incomes and lnequality in the Middle East: Data Limitations and Illustration with the Case of Egypt

Author

Listed:
  • Alvaredo, Facundo
  • Piketty, Thomas

Abstract

This paper discusses the data limitations associated with the measurement of top incomes and inequality in the Middle East, with special emphasis to the case of Egypt. It has been noted that high inequality might have contributed to the Arab spring revolt movement. Some studies have argued however that measured inequality in Middle East countries is not particularly large by international standards, and that popular discontent mostly reflects the perceived level of inequality, and the perceived (un)fairness of the distribution. In this paper we review the evidence and present new estimates. We come with two main conclusions. First, data sources at the national level are insufficient to derive reliable estimates of top income shares in a country like Egypt(or in other Middle East countries). One would need reliable fiscal sources in order to make a precise comparison with other emerging or developed countries. Unfortunately, such sources are lacking in most of the region. Next, and irrespective of these uncertainties on within-country inequalities, there is no doubt that income inequality is extremely large at the level of the Middle East taken as whole-simply because regional inequality in per capita GNP is particularly large. According to our benchmark estimates, the share of total Middle East income accruing to the top 10% income receivers is currently 55% (vs.48% in the United States,36% in Western Europe, and 54% in South Africa). Under plausible assumptions, the top 10% income share could be well over 60%, and the top 1% share might exceed 25% (vs. 20% in the United States,11% in Western Europe, and 17% in South Africa). Popular discontent might reflect the fact that perceptions about inequality and the (un)fairness of the distribution are determined by regional (and/or global) inequality, and not only on national inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Alvaredo, Facundo & Piketty, Thomas, 2014. "Measuring Top Incomes and lnequality in the Middle East: Data Limitations and Illustration with the Case of Egypt," CEPR Discussion Papers 10068, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10068
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=10068
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Vladimir Hlasny & Paolo Verme, 2018. "Top Incomes and the Measurement of Inequality in Egypt," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 32(2), pages 428-455.
    2. Anthony Atkinson & Thomas Piketty, 2010. "Top Incomes : A Global Perspective," Post-Print halshs-00754875, HAL.
    3. Atkinson, A. B. & Piketty, Thomas (ed.), 2010. "Top Incomes: A Global Perspective," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286898.
    4. Atkinson, A. B. & Piketty, Thomas (ed.), 2007. "Top Incomes Over the Twentieth Century: A Contrast Between Continental European and English-Speaking Countries," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286881.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Frank A. Cowell & Philippe Kerm, 2015. "Wealth Inequality: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 671-710, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Egypt; inequality; Middle East; top incomes;

    JEL classification:

    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10068. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.