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Indian Income Inequality, 1922‐2015: From British Raj to Billionaire Raj?

Abstract : We combine household surveys and national accounts, as well as recently released tax data to track the dynamics of Indian income inequality from 1922 to 2015. According to our benchmark estimates, the top 1 percent of earners captured less than 21 percent of total income in the late 1930s, before dropping to 6 percent in the early 1980s and rising to 22 percent in the recent period. Our results appear to be robust to a range of alternative assumptions seeking to address numerous data limitations. These findings suggest that much more can be done to promote inclusive growth in India. We also stress the need for more transparency on income and wealth statistics, which is key to allow an informed democratic debate on inequality.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02491765
Contributor : Caroline Bauer <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, February 26, 2020 - 1:01:38 PM
Last modification on : Friday, February 5, 2021 - 3:01:34 AM

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Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty. Indian Income Inequality, 1922‐2015: From British Raj to Billionaire Raj?. Review of Income and Wealth, Wiley, 2019, 65 (S1), pp.S33-S62. ⟨10.1111/roiw.12439⟩. ⟨halshs-02491765⟩

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