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Is the Kuznets Curve Still Alive? Evidence from Italy's Household Budgets, 1881-1961

Author

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  • Rossi, Nicola
  • Toniolo, Gianni
  • Vecchi, Giovanni

Abstract

This paper investigates secular changes in the distribution of personal expen-diture in Italy over the period 1881-1961. To do so, the authors constructed a new dataset, the Italian Household Budgets Database (IHBD), consisting of 4,370 family-level budgets. Methodologically, this paper improves upon most existing studies in that: (i) the entire distribution of the expenditure curve is in-vestigated, rather than just sections or likely determinants of it; (ii) confidence intervals are attached to the point estimates (Gini coefficients); and (iii) signifi-cance tests ascertain that the estimated path of inequality is not due to sam-pling variation. The secular trend in consumption expenditure inequality is found to be downward sloped. Inequality declines sharply at the beginning of the century, increases during the great depression, and falls again thereafter. These findings cast considerable doubt on the existence of an inverted-U shaped Kuznets curve, as far as the Italian case is concerned.

Suggested Citation

  • Rossi, Nicola & Toniolo, Gianni & Vecchi, Giovanni, 1999. "Is the Kuznets Curve Still Alive? Evidence from Italy's Household Budgets, 1881-1961," CEPR Discussion Papers 2140, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2140
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrea Brandolini, 1999. "The Distribution of Personal Income in Post-War Italy: Source Description, Data Quality, and the Time Pattern of Income Inequality," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 58(2), pages 183-239, September.
    2. Denis Cogneau & Charlotte Guénard, 2002. "Les inégalités et la croissance : une relation introuvable," Working Papers DT/2002/03, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Expenditure Inequality; Hot Deck; Italy 1881-1961; Kuznets Curve; Missing Data; Multiple Imputation; Non-Parametric Bootstrap;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-

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