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

Bukowski, Paweł; Novokmet, Filip; (2021) Between communism and capitalism: long-term inequality in Poland, 1892–2015. Journal of Economic Growth , 26 (2) pp. 187-239. 10.1007/s10887-021-09190-1. Green open access

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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.

Type: Article
Title: Between communism and capitalism: long-term inequality in Poland, 1892–2015
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10887-021-09190-1
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10887-021-09190-1
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 Springer Nature Switzerland AG. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Income inequality, Transformation, Poland
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10156300
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