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Taxation-Based Indicators as a Measure of Income Inequality in Russian Regions

Andrey A. Pugachev

Journal of Tax Reform, 2022, vol. 8, issue 1, 40-53

Abstract: Russia is one of the most unequal of the world’s major economies, with its wealth and income inequalities having drastically increased in recent years. This study aims to describe the influence of the flat personal income tax on income inequality in Russia and its regional characteristics by analyzing per capita tax revenues. The hypothesis is that the system of income taxation that existed in Russia until 2021 did not help reduce income inequality but on the contrary, exacerbated it, which is particularly evident on the regional level. Methodologically, the article relies on statistical analysis of concentration indices, time series analysis, index method, and comparative analysis. The calculations were made with the help of the Analysis ToolPack in MS Excel by using the data on 85 Russian regions. To test the hypothesis, 7 indicators were calculated: the range of variation, standard deviation, coefficient of variation, decile ratio of funds, decile ratio of differentiation, quintile ratio of funds, and the Gini index for 85 Russian regions for the period from 2006 to 2020. In the given period, these indicators remained steadily at a high level with a slight decrease in 2008–2010. Judging by the dynamics of the Gini index calculated by Rosstat, income inequality tended to decline although there were no significant changes in the regional differences in income while regional inequality also remained high. Monetary income and gross regional product are distributed more evenly across Russian regions in comparison with the personal income tax revenues and tax revenues in general of the regional governments’ consolidated budgets. The findings confirm the hypothesis and show that the personal income tax, which is an essential element of the tax system, exacerbated the situation of inequality in Russian regions. These findings can be of use to policy-makers and contribute to further research on taxation instruments and their potential to reduce or mitigate inequality.

Keywords: personal income tax; inequality; income inequality; differentiation; stratification; Gini index; equalization (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H21 H24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.15826/jtr.2022.8.1.107

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