September 1, 2017
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New paper and series on Brazil

This new paper by M. Morgan, “Extreme and Persistent Inequality: New Evidence for Brazil Combining National Accounts, Surveys and Fiscal Data, 2001-2015″, Working Paper, 2017/12”, combines national accounts, survey and fiscal data  in order to provide consistent series on income inequality in Brazil.

HIGHLIGHTS: The new results provide a sharp upward revision of the official estimates of inequality in Brazil, while the decreasing inequality trends are reversed according to our benchmark national income series.
The concentration of income at the top is striking, with the Top 1% income share increasing to 28% by the end of the period, from an initial share of 25%. The Top 10% increased their share of income from about 54% to 55% of pre-tax national income and captured 61% of total growth.
The Bottom 50% share rose from 11% to 12%, experiencing higher growth than the top decile, but capturing only 18% of total growth due to its extremely low command of income.

While elites and the poor made gains, the Middle 40% of the distribution decreased its share from about 34% to 32%, posting less growth than the average for the whole economy. The “squeezed middle” is a product of its relatively low share of income and poor growth performance. Thus, inequality among the bottom 90% declined at the expense of growing concentration at the top. While labour income inequality did register a decline according to our corrected series, it was insufficient to mitigate the deduced concentration of capital resources and reverse the growing concentration of national income among elite groups.

The series are available on at this link.