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Rethinking the Lebanese economic miracle: the extreme concentration of income and wealth in Lebanon, 2005–2014

Assouad, Lydia ORCID: 0000-0001-8580-1963 (2023) Rethinking the Lebanese economic miracle: the extreme concentration of income and wealth in Lebanon, 2005–2014. Journal of Development Economics, 161. ISSN 0304-3878

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2022.103003


I combine household surveys, national accounts and unique personal income tax records to produce the first estimates of the national income distribution in an Arab country, Lebanon. I find that income is extremely concentrated over the 2005–2014 period: The top 1 and 10 percent of the adult population received almost 25 and 55 percent of national income on average, placing Lebanon among the countries with the highest levels of income inequality in the world. These results challenge a long lasting narrative according to which inequality levels are not that high in the Middle East. They also confirm results from a large literature that emphasizes how the Lebanese sectarian-based mode of governance has allowed the ruling elite to extract large rents for decades and at the expense of the majority of citizens.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 Elsevier B.V.
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D3 - Distribution > D31 - Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
D - Microeconomics > D6 - Welfare Economics > D63 - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics > E0 - General > E01 - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I3 - Welfare and Poverty > I32 - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
P - Economic Systems > P4 - Other Economic Systems > P46 - Consumer Economics; Welfare and Poverty
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O15 - Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O5 - Economywide Country Studies > O53 - Asia including Middle East
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2023 14:27
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2024 00:54

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