Bank of Lithuania

Changes in income inequality in Lithuania: the role of policy, labour market structure, returns and demographics


We model the household disposable income distribution in Lithuania and explore the drivers of the increase in income inequality between 2007 and 2015. We quantify the contributions of four factors to changes in the disposable income distribution: (i) demographics; (ii) labour market structure; (ii) returns and prices; and (iv) tax-benefit system. Results show that the effects of the factors were substantial and reflected heterogeneous developments over two sub-periods: changes in the tax and benefit system successfully accommodated a rapid rise in market income inequality due to the global financial crisis during 2007-2011, but failed to do so during the subsequent years of economic expansion, when rising returns in the labour and capital markets significantly increased disposable income inequality. We also find that declining marriage rates contributed to the increase of income inequality in Lithuania.

JEL Codes: D31, H23, J21, J31, I38.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Bank of Lithuania.

income distribution, inequality, decompositions, microsimulation, tax-benefit policies, crisis, austerity, overtime comparison