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Income inequality, tax base and sovereign spreads

  • Joshua Aizenman
  • Yothin Jinjarak

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.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18176.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
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Publication status: published as Joshua Aizenman & Yothin Jinjarak, 2012. "Income Inequality, Tax Base and Sovereign Spreads," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 68(4), pages 431-444, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18176
Note: IFM
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  1. Bruno S. Frey & Benno Torgler, 2006. "Tax Morale and Conditional Cooperation," IEW - Working Papers 286, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  2. Alesina, A. & Drazen, A., 1991. "Why Are Stabilizations Delayed?," Papers 6-91, Tel Aviv - the Sackler Institute of Economic Studies.
  3. Roland Benabou, 2000. "Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 96-129, March.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Arghyrou, Michael G & Kontonikas, Alexandros, 2010. "The EMU sovereign-debt crisis: Fundamentals, expectations and contagion," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2010/9, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section.
  8. Atish R. Ghosh & Jun I. Kim & Enrique G. Mendoza & Jonathan D. Ostry & Mahvash S. Qureshi, 2011. "Fiscal Fatigue, Fiscal Space and Debt Sustainability in Advanced Economies," NBER Working Papers 16782, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Luiz de Mello & Erwin R. Tiongson, 2006. "Income Inequality and Redistributive Government Spending," Public Finance Review, , vol. 34(3), pages 282-305, May.
  10. 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.
  11. Rosser, J. Jr. & Rosser, Marina V. & Ahmed, Ehsan, 2000. "Income Inequality and the Informal Economy in Transition Economies," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 156-171, March.
  12. Jonathan Haughton & Shahidur R. Khandker, 2009. "Handbook on Poverty and Inequality," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11985.
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