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Reform and inequality during the transition: An analysis using panel household survey data, 1990-2005

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  • Milanovic, Branko
  • Ersado, Lire

Abstract

Using for the first time survey data from 26 post-Communist countries, covering the period 1990-2005, the paper examines correlates of unprecedented increases in inequality registered by most of these economies. We find that, after controlling for country-fixed effects and type of survey used, economic reform (measured by the EBRD index) is strongly negatively associated with bottom deciles’ income shares and positively with income shares of the top two deciles. However, once economic reform is broken into its different component parts, the picture is more nuanced: large-scale privatization and infrastructure reform (mostly consisting of privatization and higher fees) are responsible for this pro-inequality effect while small-scale privatization tends to raise income shares of the bottom deciles. Acceleration in growth is also pro-rich. On the other hand, democratization (measured by the Polity measure) is strongly pro-poor, as is lower inflation. Somewhat surprisingly, we find no evidence that higher government spending as share of GDI reduces inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Milanovic, Branko & Ersado, Lire, 2008. "Reform and inequality during the transition: An analysis using panel household survey data, 1990-2005," MPRA Paper 7459, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:7459
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mitra, Pradeep & Yemtsov, Ruslan, 2006. "Increasing inequality in transition economies : is there more to come?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4007, The World Bank.
    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.
    3. Dani Rodrik, 1999. "Democracies Pay Higher Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 707-738.
    4. By Ales BulÌr, 2001. "Income Inequality: Does Inflation Matter?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 48(1), pages 1-5.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Milanovic, Branko, 2007. "Where in the world are you? Assessing the importance of circumstance and effort in a world of different mean country incomes and (almost) no migration," MPRA Paper 3420, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Li, Hongyi & Squire, Lyn & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 26-43, January.
    9. Francisco H. G. Ferreira, 1999. "Economic transition and the distributions of income and wealth," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 7(2), pages 377-410, July.
    10. Michele Giammatteo, 2006. "Inequality in Transition Countries: The Contributions of Markets and Government Taxes and Transfers," LIS Working papers 443, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    11. José Gabriel Palma, 2006. "Globalizing Inequality: ‘Centrifugal’ and ‘Centripetal’ Forces at Work," Working Papers 35, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.
    12. Jens Hölscher, 2006. "Income Distribution and Convergence in the Transition Process – A Cross-Country Comparison," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 48(2), pages 302-325, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Golinelli, Roberto & Rovelli, Riccardo, 2013. "Did growth and reforms increase citizens' support for the transition?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 112-137.
    2. Riccardo Rovelli & Anzelika Zaiceva, 2013. "Did support for economic and political reforms increase during the post-communist transition, and if so, why?," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 21(2), pages 193-240, April.
    3. R. Rovelli & A. Zaiceva, 2011. "Individual support for economic and political changes: Evidence from transition countries, 1991-2004," Working Papers wp736, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    4. Sergei Guriev & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2009. "(Un)happiness in Transition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 143-168, Spring.
    5. Frederic Pryor, 2015. "A Note on Income Inequality in East Europe," LIS Working papers 643, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    6. Bojana Radovanovic & Dragan Filimonovic, 2012. "Developments in the Available Inequality Indexes for the Western Balkan Countries: Trends in the last 10 Years," Book Chapters, Institute of Economic Sciences.
    7. Facundo Alvaredo & Leonardo Gasparini, 2013. "Recent Trends in Inequality and Poverty in Developing Countries," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0151, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    8. Jirí Vecerník, 2010. "Earnings Disparities and Income Inequality in CEE Countries: An Analysis of Development and Relationships," LIS Working papers 540, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality; transition; economic policy;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies
    • P20 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - General

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