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Poverty, Inequality, and Populist Politics in Iran

Listed author(s):
  • Djavad Salehi-Isfahani

Despite nearly three decades of revolutionary government rule, poverty and inequality remain the central issues of political debate in Iran. The unexpected electoral victory of Ahmadinejad, the populist candidate in the 2005 presidential election, has been widely attributed to rising poverty and inequity. Using household survey data, I examine the trends in poverty and inequality for the last three decades and show that this thesis is not grounded in facts. Survey data show that poverty has substantially declined in recent years, and is low by international standards and in comparison with pre-revolution years. This �nding is consistent with pro-poor policies of the Islamic government, mainly in provision of basic infrastructure such as electricity, safe drinking water, and health. However, the same policies have not been as elective in reducing in- equality, which, after an initial decline following the Revolution, has remained basically constant in the post-Revolution period.

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File URL: ftp://repec.econ.vt.edu/Papers/Salehi-Isfahani/Iran_poverty_inequality.pdf
File Function: First version, 2007
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Paper provided by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number e07-1.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Handle: RePEc:vpi:wpaper:e07-1
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