Does Fiscal Consolidation Raise Inequality?

Fiscal tightening, whether based on cutting spending or raising taxes, has raised inequality and lowered the wage share of income. These are the main findings of my co-authored IMF working paper released today. The results are based on 173 episodes of fiscal consolidation during 1978-2009 for 17 OECD economies (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States). Some of the key charts from the paper are given below.

Fiscal consolidation raises inequality (as measured by the Gini Coefficient)
(The horizontal axis shows the year of the consolidation—year 0—and the impact up to 8 years after the consolidation)

Consolidation based on spending cuts raises inequality …

… as does consolidation based on tax increases

Fiscal consolidation lowers the wage share of income

Posted by at 7:07 PM

Labels: Unemployment


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