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

By Vyacheslav Dombrovsky, Konstantin A. Kholodilin and Boriss Siliverstovs

Abstract

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.Economic inequality, cars, social signaling, Gini index, Latvia

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