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Income inequality and redistribution in the aftermath of the 2007-2007 crisis: the US case

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  • Vanda Almeida

Abstract

This paper provides a detailed empirical assessment of the evolution of income inequality and the redistributive effects of the tax and transfer system following the 2007-2008 crisis. It focuses on the US case, drawing on data from the Current Population Survey for the period 2007-2012. Contrary to most existing studies, it uses of a wide range of inequality indicators and looks in detail at several sections of the income distribution, allowing for a clearer picture of the heterogeneous consequences of the crisis. Furthermore, it analyses the contribution of different types of taxes and transfers, beyond the overall cushioning effect of the system, which allows for a more refined assessment of its effectiveness. Results show that although the crisis implied income losses across the whole income distribution, the burden was disproportionately born by low to middle income groups. Income losses experienced by richer households were relatively modest and transitory, while those experienced by poorer households were not only strong but also highly persistent. The redistributive system had a crucial role in taming the increase in income inequality in the immediate aftermath of the crisis, and during the GR years, particularly cash transfers. After 2010, however, its effect became weaker and income inequality experienced a new surge. The findings of this paper contribute to a better understanding of the distributional consequences of aggregate crises and the role of tax and transfer policies in stabilising the income distribution in a crisis aftermath.

Suggested Citation

  • Vanda Almeida, 2016. "Income inequality and redistribution in the aftermath of the 2007-2007 crisis: the US case," Working Papers 096, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
  • Handle: RePEc:don:donwpa:096
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    1. Antoine Bozio & Bertrand Garbinti & Jonathan Goupille-Lebret & Malka Guillot & Thomas Piketty, 2020. "Predistribution vs. Redistribution: Evidence from France and the U.S," Institut des Politiques Publiques halshs-03022092, HAL.
    2. Salvatore Morelli, 2018. "Banking crises in the US: the response of top income shares in a historical perspective," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 16(2), pages 257-294, June.
    3. Petraglia, Carmelo & Pierucci, Eleonora & Scalera, Domenico, 2020. "Interregional redistribution and risk sharing through public budget. The case of Italy in times of crisis (2000–2016)," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 162-169.

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    Keywords

    Crisis; Gini; Income; Inequality; Income tax; Low income; Personal Income Distribution; Redistribution; Safety net; Transfers;
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