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Income Inequality in Côte d'Ivoire: 1985-2014

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  • Léo Czajka

    (Paris School of Economics)

Abstract

Data on income/consumption distributions in Sub-Saharan Africa have been mainly used to study the welfare of the poorest. Yet, the rapid growth experienced by several countries in the last decades has drawn the attention towards higher earnings groups in the income/consumption distributions. However, due to under-reporting and non-response, surveys often fail to accurately measure the income of the wealthiest. Little is known about the size of such biases as it requires to have access to more reliable sources of information. In this paper we confront the 2014-2015 household survey with first-hand income tax files in the case of Côte d’Ivoire, 2014. We first identify, within the survey, a sub-sample corresponding to the one for which we have fiscal data. Comparing the earning distribution of this sub-sample with the one extrapolated from the fiscal data, we are able to measure the magnitude and the distribution of the bias among top earners in the survey. We then use this estimation to adjust the pre-tax and pre-transfer income distribution of the entire survey sample and thus recover corrected nationally representative inequality statistics. Our results show that the 2014-2015 survey significantly underestimates income inequalities. After our correction, the top 1 % share increases from 11.57 % to 17.15 %, the top 10 % share from 40.34 % to 48.28 %, and the Gini coefficient from 0.53 to 0.59. We compare our estimates with more commonly used consumption inequality measures and discuss the potential sources of differences. Making the assumption that the bias is constant over time for a given level of income, we also extend our correction to previous surveys. After correction, top 1 % shares increase by 5-6 percentage points, top 10 % shares by 7-8 percentage points and Gini coefficients increase by 6 points, making Côte d’Ivoire’s inequality levels comparable to that of the US.

Suggested Citation

  • Léo Czajka, 2017. "Income Inequality in Côte d'Ivoire: 1985-2014," Working Papers 201708, World Inequality Lab.
  • Handle: RePEc:wel:wpaper:201708
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas Blanchet & Juliette Fournier & Thomas Piketty, 2017. "Generalized Pareto Curves : Theory and Applications," Working Papers 201703, World Inequality Lab.
    2. Angus Deaton, 2005. "Measuring Poverty in a Growing World (or Measuring Growth in a Poor World)," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 1-19, February.
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    4. Jonathan D. Fisher & David S. Johnson & Timothy M. Smeeding, 2013. "Measuring the Trends in Inequality of Individuals and Families: Income and Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 184-188, May.
    5. Denis Cogneau & Thomas Bossuroy & Philippe De Vreyer & Charlotte Guénard & Victor Hiller & Phillippe Leite & Sandrine Mesplé-Somps & Laure Pasquier-Doumer & Constance Torelli, 2006. "Inequalities and equity in Africa," Working Papers DT/2006/11, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    6. Deaton, A., 1992. "Saving and Income Smoothing in Cote d'Ivoire," Papers 156, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
    7. Kathleen Beegle & Luc Christiaensen & Andrew Dabalen & Isis Gaddis, 2016. "Poverty in a Rising Africa," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 22575, January.
    8. Anthony Atkinson & Thomas Piketty, 2007. "Top incomes over the twentieth century: A contrast between continental european and english-speaking countries," Post-Print halshs-00754859, HAL.
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