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Between communism and capitalism: long-term inequality in Poland, 1892–2015

Bukowski, Pawel and Novokmet, Filip (2021) Between communism and capitalism: long-term inequality in Poland, 1892–2015. Journal of Economic Growth, 26 (2). 187 – 239. ISSN 1381-4338

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s10887-021-09190-1

Abstract

We construct the first consistent series on the long-term distribution of income in Poland by combining tax, household survey and national accounts data. We document a U-shaped evolution of inequalities from the end of the nineteenth century until today: (1) inequality was high before WWII; (2) abruptly fell after the introduction of communism in 1947 and stagnated at low levels during the whole communist period; (3) experienced a sharp rise with the return to capitalism in 1989. We find that official survey-based measures strongly under-estimate the rise in inequality since 1989. Our results highlight the prominent role of capital income in driving the U-shaped evolution of top income shares. The unique inequality history of Poland speaks to the central role of institutions and policies in shaping inequality in the long run.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.springer.com/journal/10887
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D3 - Distribution > D31 - Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics > E0 - General > E01 - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth
N - Economic History > N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income, and Wealth > N34 - Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income and Wealth: Europe: 1913-
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2021 10:15
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2021 01:11
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/110221

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