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Income inequality, tax base and sovereign spreads

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  • Joshua Aizenman
  • Yothin Jinjarak

Abstract

This paper investigates the association between greater income inequality, de-facto fiscal space, and sovereign spreads. Using data from 50 countries in 2007, 2009 and 2011, we find that higher income inequality is associated with a lower tax base, lower de-facto fiscal space, and higher sovereign spreads. The economic magnitude of these effects is large: at the margin, a one point of the Gini coefficient of inequality (in a scale of 0-100), is associated in 2011 with a lower tax base of 2 percent of the GDP, and with a higher sovereign spread of 45 basis points.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua Aizenman & Yothin Jinjarak, 2012. "Income inequality, tax base and sovereign spreads," NBER Working Papers 18176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18176
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    1. Atish R. Ghosh & Jun I. Kim & Enrique G. Mendoza & Jonathan D. Ostry & Mahvash S. Qureshi, 2013. "Fiscal Fatigue, Fiscal Space and Debt Sustainability in Advanced Economies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0, pages 4-30, February.
    2. Frey, Bruno S. & Torgler, Benno, 2007. "Tax morale and conditional cooperation," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 136-159, March.
    3. Joshua Aizenman & Yothin Jinjarak, 2011. "The Fiscal Stimulus of 2009-10: Trade Openness, Fiscal Space and Exchange Rate Adjustment," NBER Working Papers 17427, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Branko Milanovic & Peter H. Lindert & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2011. "Pre‐Industrial Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(551), pages 255-272, March.
    5. Reardon, Thomas & Lovell, Richard D. & Peter, Rufina & Mbithi, Stephen & Glover, John & McKinna, David & Fels, Allan & Reid, Margaret, 2011. "Q and A," Conference Proceedings 2011 125336, Crawford Fund.
    6. Arghyrou, Michael G. & Kontonikas, Alexandros, 2012. "The EMU sovereign-debt crisis: Fundamentals, expectations and contagion," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 658-677.
    7. Roland Benabou, 2000. "Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 96-129, March.
    8. Aizenman, Joshua & Hutchison, Michael & Jinjarak, Yothin, 2013. "What is the risk of European sovereign debt defaults? Fiscal space, CDS spreads and market pricing of risk," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 37-59.
    9. Joshua Aizenman & Yothin Jinjarak, 2012. "The Fiscal Stimulus of 2009-2010: Trade Openness, Fiscal Space, and Exchange Rate Adjustment," NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages 301-342.
    10. Luiz de Mello & Erwin R. Tiongson, 2006. "Income Inequality and Redistributive Government Spending," Public Finance Review, , vol. 34(3), pages 282-305, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Carlos Bethencourt & Lars Kunze, 2015. "The political economics of redistribution, inequality and tax avoidance," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 163(3), pages 267-287, June.
    2. Santo Milasi, 2014. "Top Income Shares and Budget Deficits," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, issue 1, pages 383-406, January-M.
    3. Md. Rabiul Islam & Jakob Brochner Madsen & Hristos Doucouliagos, 2016. "Does Inequality Constrain the Power to Tax? Evidence from the OECD," Monash Economics Working Papers 29-16, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    4. Alexandru MINEA & Jean-Louis COMBES & Weneyam Hippolyte BALIMA, 2015. "Sovereign Debt Risk in Emerging Countries: Does Inflation Targeting Adoption Make Any Difference?," Working Papers 201504, CERDI.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General

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