ESCWA Publication: E/ESCWA/CL2.GPID/2020/TP.9
Publication Type: Information material
Cluster: 2030 Agenda and SDG Coordination
Focus Area: Inclusive development
Keywords: Arab countries, Covid-19, Poverty, Wealth
Wealth Inequality and Closing the Poverty Gap in Arab Countries: The Case for a Solidarity Wealth Tax
High poverty rates coupled with high concentration of wealth in the Arab region have highlighted the need for a stronger civic solidarity and the shared responsibility of the public, the private sector and the state for uplifting the downtrodden out of poverty. In a recent study, we have investigated the concentration of wealth across the Arab region and juxtaposed it with the scale and incidence of poverty. We have imputed the full distribution of wealth in the region, and we have superimposed the projected cost of closing of the regional poverty gap onto the distribution’s top end, to assess the scope for fiscal redistribution from the wealthiest 10 percent to the poor. The case for taxing top wealth is strong – A solidarity wealth levy independent of the Arab countries’ existing public fiscal space would go a long way toward closing the poverty gap and promoting civic equity and unity.