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The Effect of Inequality on Growth: Theory and Evidence from the Indian States

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  • Sugata Ghosh
  • Sarmistha Pal

Abstract

The paper examines the effect of inequality on growth among the subnational states in India. Theoretically, growth of the regional economy is driven by productive public investment in the provision of health and education services financed by a linear output tax, and the optimum tax rate is determined by the median voter. In contrast to existing results, the authors obtain an ambiguous relationship between initial inequality and subsequent economic growth. Analysis of the Indian state-level data suggests that rural inequality influences growth of total output more than urban inequality, and does so negatively. The indicator of intersectoral inequality is more important in explaining sectoral output growth. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2004.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Review of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 8 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Pages: 164-177

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Handle: RePEc:bla:rdevec:v:8:y:2004:i:1:p:164-177

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  1. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1997. "Consumption, inequality and income uncertainty," IFS Working Papers W97/15, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Islam, Nazrul, 1995. "Growth Empirics: A Panel Data Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1127-70, November.
  3. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1993. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth," Papers 537, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  4. Paul Cashin & Ratna Sahay, 1996. "Internal Migration, Center-State Grants, and Economic Growth in the States of India," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 43(1), pages 123-171, March.
  5. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 2013. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Working Papers 2013-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  6. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1998. "New ways of looking at old issues: inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 259-287.
  7. Ravallion, Martin, 1995. "Growth and poverty: Evidence for developing countries in the 1980s," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(3-4), pages 411-417, June.
  8. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2232, David K. Levine.
  9. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Robert J. Barro, 1989. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," NBER Working Papers 3120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Partridge, Mark D, 1997. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth? Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 1019-32, December.
  12. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav, 1996. "How Important to India's Poor Is the Sectoral Composition of Economic Growth?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(1), pages 1-25, January.
  13. Ravallion, Martin, 1998. "Does aggregation hide the harmful effects of inequality on growth?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 73-77, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Sarmistha Pal & Robert Palacios, 2006. "Old Age Poverty In The Indian States:What Do The Household Data Tell Us?," Economics and Finance Discussion Papers 06-16, Economics and Finance Section, School of Social Sciences, Brunel University.
  2. Andrew McKay & Sarmistha Pal, 2003. "Relationships between consumption and inequality in the Indian states," Development and Comp Systems 0309005, EconWPA.
  3. Pal, Sarmistha & Palacios, Robert, 2008. "Understanding Poverty among the Elderly in India: Implications for Social Pension Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 3431, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Andrew McKay & Sarmistha Pal, 2004. "Relationships between Household Consumption and Inequality in the Indian States," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(5), pages 65-90.
  5. Sarmistha Pal & Sugata Ghosh, 2008. "The Elite and the Marginalised: an Analysis of Public Spending on Mass Education in the Indian States," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 08-15, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  6. Sarmistha Pal & Sugata Ghosh, 2006. "Elite Dominance and Under-investment in Mass Education: Disparity in the Social Development of the Indian States, 1960-92," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 06-05, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  7. Sarmistha Pal & Robert Palacios, 2005. "Old Age Poverty In The Indian States: What The Household Data Can Say?," Labor and Demography 0505015, EconWPA.

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