Revolution and redistribution in Iran: poverty and inequality 25 years later
Despite nearly three decades of revolutionary government rule in Iran poverty and inequality remain the central issues of political debate in Iran. Public dissatisfaction, as demonstrated by the electoral success of the populist candidate in the 2005 presidential election, has been widely attributed to rising poverty and inequity. In this paper I use household survey data to describe the trends in poverty and inequality for the last three decades. The evidence shows that poverty, having substantially declined in recent years, is quite low by international standards and in comparison to pre-revolution years. Inequality improved significantly immediately after the Revolution but has remained relatively stable during the last 15 years. Significantly, poverty sharply declined and inequality decreased somewhat in the five years leading up to the election. Increased welfare of the poor over the period is also evident in access to basic services, such as electricity and safe water, as well as in ownership of household appliances. The wide gap between the evidence presented here, which shows improvement in the welfare of the poor, and popular sentiments in Iran, which indicate worsening poverty and inequality, raises important questions about the political economy of redistribution in Iran. I suggest that in the context of a distributive economy such as Iran's, in which wealth accumulation is seen to depend more on political access than individual productivity, more subjective feelings of envy and fairness may matter more than objective indicators of poverty and inequality.
|Date of creation:||2006|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 3016 Pamplin Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0316|
Web page: http://www.econ.vt.edu
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Esfahani, Hadi Salehi, 2005. "Alternative public service delivery mechanisms in Iran," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 45(2-3), pages 497-525, May.
- Duclos, Jean-Yves & Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 2003.
"Polarization: Concepts, Measurement, Estimation,"
Cahiers de recherche
- Surjit Bhalla, 2002. "Imagine There's No Country: Poverty, Inequality, and Growth in the Era of Globalization," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 348, January.
- Ravallion, M., 1992. "Poverty Comparisons - A Guide to Concepts and Methods," Papers 88, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
- M. Hashem Pesaran, 1999.
"Economic Trends and Macroeconomic Policies in Post-Revolutionary Iran,"
9902, Economic Research Forum, revised Jan 1999.
- Pesaran, M. H., 1998. "Economic Trends and Macroeconomic Policies in Post-revolutionary Iran," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9818, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
- Klaus Deininger & Lyn Squire, 1996.
"A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality,"
CEMA Working Papers
512, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
- Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1999.
"A Data Set on Income Distribution,"
CEMA Working Papers
575, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
- Milanovic, Branko & DEC, 1994. "Determinants of cross-country income inequality : an augmented Kuznets hypothesis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1246, The World Bank.
- Mojtahed, Ahmad & Esfahani, Hadi S., 1989. "Agricultural policy and performance in Iran: The post-revolutionary experience," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 839-860, June.
- World Bank, 2004. "Gender and Development in the Middle East and North Africa : Women in the Public Sphere," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15036.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:vpi:wpaper:e06-3. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Djavad Salehi-Isfahani)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.