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The evolution of top income and wealth shares in Portugal since 1936*

  • Jordi Guilera (a1)

This paper presents new statistical evidence on the long-term evolution of economic inequality in Portugal. Portuguese tax sources have been employed to estimate top income and wealth shares (TIS and TWS) from 1936 onwards. The new series shows that the Second World War had a negative and non-permanent effect on the evolution of TIS, but not on TWS, which increased until the mid 1950s. From the mid 1950s to the early 1980s, there was a sharp decline in TIS and TWS. Finally, during the 1990s, TIS increased again. The reasons behind the Portuguese distributive pattern seem to be more economic than political.


El objetivo de este artículo es presentar nueva información estadística sobre la evolución de las desigualdades económicas en Portugal a largo plazo. La explotación de las fuentes fiscales portuguesas ha permitido la estimación de las top income and wealth shares (TIS y TWS) desde 1936. Estas nuevas series revelan que la Segunda Guerra Mundial tuvo un impacto negativo no permanente sobre las TIS, pero no sobre las TWS. Desde mediados de los cincuenta hasta principios de los ochenta, TIS y TWS cayeron con intensidad. Finalmente, durante los años noventa las TIS volvieron a aumentar. Las razones que hay detrás de la pauta distributiva portuguesa parecen ser más de índole económica que política.

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F. Alvaredo (2009): «Top Income and Earnings in Portugal 1936-2005». Explorations in Economic History, 46 (4), pp. 404-417.

A. Atkinson , J. Gordon A. Harrison (1989): «Trends in the Shares of Top Wealth-Holders in Britain 1923-1981». Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 51 (3), pp. 315-332.

K. Deininger L. Squire (1996): «A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality». The World Bank Economic Review, 10 (3), pp. 565-591.

P. Lains (2003a): «Catching up to the European core: Portuguese Economic Growth, 1910-1990». Explorations in Economic History, 40 (4), pp. 369-386.

T. Piketty , G. Postel-Vinay J. L. Rosenthal (2006): «Wealth Concentration in a Developing Economy: Paris and France, 1807-1994». American Economic Review, 96 (1), pp. 236-256.

J. Roine , D. Waldenström (2009): «Wealth Concentration over the Path of Development: Sweden, 1873-2006». Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 111 (1), pp. 151-187.

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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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