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Poverty, Inequality, and Populist Politics in Iran

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  • Djavad Salehi-Isfahani

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, 2007. "Poverty, Inequality, and Populist Politics in Iran," Working Papers e07-1, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:vpi:wpaper:e07-1
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    File URL: ftp://repec.econ.vt.edu/Papers/Salehi-Isfahani/Iran_poverty_inequality.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2002. "Growth Is Good for the Poor," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 195-225, September.
    2. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    3. Dean Jolliffe & Anastassia Semykina, 2000. "Robust standard errors for the Foster-Greer-Thorbecke class of poverty indices," Stata Technical Bulletin, StataCorp LP, vol. 9(51).
    4. Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, 2006. "Revolution and redistribution in Iran: poverty and inequality 25 years later," Working Papers e06-3, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Economics.
    5. Jean-Yves Duclos & Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2004. "Polarization: Concepts, Measurement, Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(6), pages 1737-1772, November.
    6. Milanovic, Branko & DEC, 1994. "Determinants of cross-country income inequality : an augmented Kuznets hypothesis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1246, The World Bank.
    7. Anthony F. Shorrocks, 1983. "The Impact of Income Components on the Distribution of Family Incomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(2), pages 311-326.
    8. Martin Biewen & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2003. "Estimation of Generalized Entropy and Atkinson Inequality Indices from Complex Survey Data," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 345, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    9. Anand, Sudhir & Kanbur, S. M. R., 1993. "The Kuznets process and the inequality--development relationship," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 25-52, February.
    10. 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.
    11. Biewen, Martin, 2002. "Bootstrap inference for inequality, mobility and poverty measurement," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 317-342, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Maasoumi, Esfandiar & Mahmoudi, Vahid, 2013. "Robust growth-equity decomposition of change in poverty: The case of Iran (2000–2009)," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 268-276.
    2. Yu-chin Chen & Kwok Ping Tsang & Wen Jen Tsay, 2010. "Home Bias in Currency Forecasts," Working Papers e07-18, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Economics.
    3. Hosnieh Mahoozi, 2015. "Gender and Spatial Disparity of Multidimensional Poverty in Iran," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp095.pdf, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
    4. repec:wsi:medjxx:v:01:y:2009:i:02:n:s1793812009000085 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Mohammad Reza Farzanegan & Mohammad Habibpour, 2014. "Direct Distribution of Rents and the Resource Curse in Iran: A Micro-econometric Analysis," CESifo Working Paper Series 4824, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. repec:eee:eneeco:v:66:y:2017:i:c:p:35-42 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:eee:wdevel:v:99:y:2017:i:c:p:186-202 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Oyvat, Cem, 2016. "Agrarian Structures, Urbanization, and Inequality," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 207-230.
    9. Salehi-Isfahani, Djavad & Majbouri, Mehdi, 2013. "Mobility and the dynamics of poverty in Iran: Evidence from the 1992–1995 panel survey," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 257-267.
    10. Arman Bidarbakht Nia, 2011. "Examining Poverty and Inequality across Small Areas of Islamic Republic Of Iran; Toolmaking for Efficient Welfare Policies," Asia-Pacific Development Journal, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), vol. 18(1), pages 125-159, June.
    11. Djavad Salehi-Isfahani & Insan Tunali & Ragui Assaad, 2009. "A Comparative Study Of Returns To Education Of Urban Men In Egypt, Iran, And Turkey," Middle East Development Journal (MEDJ), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 1(02), pages 145-187.
    12. Sanaz Fesharaki & Mahdi Majbouri, 2016. "Iran's multi-ethnic mosaic," WIDER Working Paper Series 117, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    13. Mahoozi, Hosnieh, 2015. "Multiple dimensions of regional variation of impoverishment in Iran," Discussion Papers 70, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Center for international Development and Environmental Research (ZEU).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Poverty; Inequality; and Populist Politics in Iran;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East

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