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Using Personal Car Register for Measuring Economic Inequality in Countries with a Large Share of Shadow Economy: Evidence for Latvia

Discussion Papers 1153, 9 S.

Vyacheslav Dombrovsky, Konstantin A. Kholodilin, Boriss Siliverstovs


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Published in: The Review of Income and Wealth 60 (2013) No. 4, 948-966


We suggest to use information from the state register of personal cars as an alternative indicator of economic inequality in countries with a large share of shadow economy. We illustrate our approach using the Latvian pool of personal cars. Our main finding is that the extent of household economic inequality in Latvia is much larger than officially assumed. The latest officially available estimate of the Gini coefficient is 0.36 for 2005, which is much lower than 0.55 for 2009 reported in our paper.

Konstantin A. Kholodilin

Research Associate in the Macroeconomics Department

JEL-Classification: D31;E26;Z13
Keywords: Economic inequality, cars, social signaling, Gini index, Latvia
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