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Inflation and Income Inequality; Is Food Inflation Different?

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  • James P Walsh
  • Jiangyan Yu

Abstract

There is an extensive literature noting that high inflation can add to income inequality, and a parallel literature assessing the effect of rising food prices on the poor. This paper attempts to combine these strands by dividing inflation into food and nonfood inflation and assessing whether food inflation affects income inequality differently from nonfood inflation. In an international sample and a sample of Chinese provinces, nonfood inflation exacerbates income inequality while the role of food inflation is more mixed. In a sample of Indian states broken down into urban and rural areas, we find that nonfood inflation adds to income inequality in both areas, while food inflation has a neutral to positive effect on income inequality in rural areas, providing support for the theory that rural wages may respond elastically to food prices.

Suggested Citation

  • James P Walsh & Jiangyan Yu, 2012. "Inflation and Income Inequality; Is Food Inflation Different?," IMF Working Papers 12/147, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/147
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jonathan S. Skinner, 1987. "Taxation and Output Growth: Evidence from African Countries," NBER Working Papers 2335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Leite, Phillippe G. & Litchfield, Julie A., 2008. "The Rise And Fall Of Brazilian Inequality: 1981–2004," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(S2), pages 199-230, September.
    3. Christina D. Romer & David Romer, 1999. "Monetary policy and the well-being of the poor," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q I, pages 21-49.
    4. Jim Dolmas & Gregory W. Huffman & Mark A. Wynne, 2000. "Inequality, inflation, and central bank independence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(1), pages 271-287, February.
    5. Rashid, Shahidur, 2002. "Dynamics of agricultural wage and rice price in Bangladesh," MSSD discussion papers 44, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Gaurav Datt & Martin Ravallion, 1998. "Farm productivity and rural poverty in India," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(4), pages 62-85.
    7. Quentin Wodon & Hassan Zaman, 2010. "Higher Food Prices in Sub-Saharan Africa: Poverty Impact and Policy Responses," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 25(1), pages 157-176, February.
    8. Wodon, Quentin & Tsimpo, Clarence & Backiny-Yetna, Prospere & Joseph, George & Adoho, Franck & Coulombe, Harold, 2008. "Potential impact of higher food prices on poverty : summary estimates for a dozen west and central African countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4745, The World Bank.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Serhan Cevik & Carolina Correa-Caro, 2015. "Growing (Un)equal; Fiscal Policy and Income Inequality in China and BRIC+," IMF Working Papers 15/68, International Monetary Fund.
    2. N'Yilimon Nantob, 2015. "Income Inequality and Inflation in Developing Countries: An Empirical Investigation," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(4), pages 2888-2902.
    3. repec:eee:econom:v:199:y:2017:i:2:p:221-231 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Sadullah Çelik & Deniz Şatıroğlu, 2015. "A Reality Check on the Relationship between Poverty and Income Inequality for Turkey," EY International Congress on Economics II (EYC2015), November 5-6, 2015, Ankara, Turkey 229, Ekonomik Yaklasim Association.
    5. repec:pid:journl:v:55:y:2016:i:4:p:543-559 is not listed on IDEAS

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