Measuring lnequality in the Middle East 1990-2016: The World's Most Unequal Region?
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In this paper we combine household surveys, national accounts, income tax data and wealth data in order to estimate income concentration in the Middle East for the period 1990–2016. According to our benchmark series, the Middle East appears to be the most unequal region in the world, with a top decile income share as large as 64 percent, compared to 37 percent in Western Europe, 47 percent in the US and 55 percent in Brazil (see Alvaredo et al. 2018). This is due both to enormous inequality between countries (particularly between oil‐rich and population‐rich countries) and to large inequality within countries (which we probably under‐estimate, given the limited access to proper fiscal data). We stress the importance of increasing transparency on income and wealth in the Middle East, as well as the need to develop mechanisms of regional redistribution and investment.
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