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Rethinking the Lebanese Economic Miracle: The Extreme Concentration of Income and Wealth in Lebanon, 2005-2014

Abstract : 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. Results are robust to sensitivity analysis and suggest that one should not give up on tracking the dynamics of wealth and income concentration in a developing country, as long as the the assumptions made are clearly and systematically stated. The extreme level on inequality found question the long-lasting narrative of the "Lebanese economic miracle" that showcases the country as a paragon of economic success in the Middle East. They also confirm results from a large literature that emphasizes how the Lebanese sectarianbased mode of governance has allowed the ruling elite to extract large rents on most economic activities in the last decades at the expense of the majority of citizens.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02795688
Contributor : Caroline Bauer <>
Submitted on : Thursday, March 25, 2021 - 7:45:08 AM
Last modification on : Sunday, March 28, 2021 - 3:06:20 AM

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Lydia Assouad. Rethinking the Lebanese Economic Miracle: The Extreme Concentration of Income and Wealth in Lebanon, 2005-2014. 2021. ⟨halshs-02795688v2⟩

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