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STICKY INCOME INEQUALITY IN THE SPANISH TRANSITION (1973-1990)*

  • Sara Torregrosa-Hetland (a1)
Abstract
ABSTRACT

This paper investigates the evolution of income inequality in Spain during its transition to democracy, suggesting a method for the correction of under-reporting of earnings and profits in the Household Budget Surveys’ data. The contribution is twofold: the methodological proposal, based on income-expenditure discrepancy and scaling-up to National Accounts, improves on previous work and can be useful for similar historical sources in other countries. Second, its application results in an alternative history of the distribution of income in this case, changing the levels and also the observed trend. Previous literature asserted a substantial equalisation, related to the democratisation process, while after the adjustment inequality in disposable income is shown to have been quite persistent.

RESUMEN

Este artículo analiza la evolución de la desigualdad de rentas en España durante la transición a la democracia, proponiendo un método para corregir la infra-declaración de ingresos en las Encuestas de Presupuestos Familiares. La contribución es doble: la metodología, basada en la discrepancia entre rentas y gastos y en el ajuste a Contabilidad Nacional, puede ser de utilidad para fuentes históricas similares en otros países. En segundo lugar, su aplicación resulta en una interpretación alternativa en este caso, al cambiar los niveles de desigualdad y también la tendencia observada. Si la literatura anterior había tratado de una sustancial mejora en la distribución, vinculada a la democracia, tras el ajuste efectuado la desigualdad en la renta disponible se muestra bastante persistente.

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Received 18 December 2014. Accepted 23 April 2015. This paper is part of the PhD dissertation project «Tax system and redistribution: the Spanish fiscal transition (1960-1990)», under the supervision of Alfonso Herranz-Loncán and Alejandro Esteller-Moré, to whom the author was grateful. The author acknowledges financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Education’s (FPU scholarship) and Research Project ECO2012-39169-C03-03. She also thanks the team from Carlos III University who worked on the Household Budget Surveys data, and comments from seminar participants in Santiago de Chile and Bogotá and two anonymous referees. Emmanuel Saez hosted her at UC Berkeley while culminating this research; she is also grateful for his insights. All errors are the author’s own.

Department of Economic History and Institutions. 690 Avda. Diagonal, 08034 Barcelona, Spain. storregrosa@ub.edu

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

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Revista de Historia Economica - Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History
  • ISSN: 0212-6109
  • EISSN: 2041-3335
  • URL: /core/journals/revista-de-historia-economica-journal-of-iberian-and-latin-american-economic-history
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