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Inequality in Poland: Estimating the whole distribution by g-percentile 1983-2015

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  • Pawel Bukowski

    ()

  • Filip Novokmet

    ()

Abstract

This paper combines national accounts, survey and tax data to provide consistent series on income distribution in Poland over the 1983-2015 period. We find that official survey-based inequality estimates substantially underestimate the rise of inequality since the end of Communism. The top 10% income share increased from 23% to 40% and the top 1% income share from 4% to 14% between 1989 and 2015. Frequently quoted Poland’s transition success has largely benefited top income groups. Over this period, top 1% has captured almost twice as large portion of the total income growth than the bottom 50% (24% versus 13%). We also find that inequality has continued to grow after the initial upward adjustment during the transition in the 1990s, especially since the early 2000s, and today has reached levels found in more unequal European countries. However, the transition from communism to capitalism has led to lower income concentration in Poland than in Russia. We relate this to different transition policies, institutions and natural resources endowments.

Suggested Citation

  • Pawel Bukowski & Filip Novokmet, 2018. "Inequality in Poland: Estimating the whole distribution by g-percentile 1983-2015," LIS Working papers 731, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
  • Handle: RePEc:lis:liswps:731
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    1. Michael P. Keane & Eswar S. Prasad, 2002. "Inequality, Transfers, And Growth: New Evidence From The Economic Transition In Poland," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 324-341, May.
    2. Branko Milanovic, 1999. "Explaining the increase in inequality during transition," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 7(2), pages 299-341, July.
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    4. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman, 2018. "Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 133(2), pages 553-609.
    5. Garbinti, Bertrand & Goupille-Lebret, Jonathan & Piketty, Thomas, 2018. "Income inequality in France, 1900–2014: Evidence from Distributional National Accounts (DINA)," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 63-77.
    6. Sukiassyan, Grigor, 2007. "Inequality and growth: What does the transition economy data say?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 35-56, March.
    7. Bertrand Garbinti & Jonathan Goupille-Lebret & Thomas Piketty, 2017. "Accounting for Wealth Inequality Dynamics: Methods, Estimates and Simulations for France (1800-2014)," Working Papers 201605, World Inequality Lab.
    8. Atkinson,Anthony Barnes & Micklewright,John, 1992. "Economic Transformation in Eastern Europe and the Distribution of Income," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521438827.
    9. Michal Brzezinski, 2017. "Is high inequality an issue in Poland?," IBS Policy Papers 01/2017, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.
    10. Simon Commander & Andrei Tolstopiatenko & Ruslan Yemtsov, 1999. "Channels of redistribution: Inequality and poverty in the Russian transition," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 7(2), pages 411-447, July.
    11. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman, 2016. "Appendix to "Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States"," Working Papers 201604, World Inequality Lab.
    12. Michael P. Keane & Eswar S. Prasad, 2002. "Inequality, Transfers, And Growth: New Evidence From The Economic Transition In Poland," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 324-341, May.
    13. Bertrand Garbinti & Jonathan Goupille-Lebret & Thomas Piketty, 2017. "Income Inequality in France, 1900-2014: Evidence from Distributional National Accounts," Working Papers 201704, World Inequality Lab.
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