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Is Income Inequality Endogenous in Regional Growth?

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  • Hailu, Yohannes G.
  • Kahsai, Mulugeta S.
  • Gebremedhin, Tesfa G.
  • Jackson, Randall W.

Abstract

This study focuses on testing the relationship between income inequality and growth within U.S. counties, and the channels through which such effects are observed. The study tests three hypotheses: (1) income inequality has an inverse relationship with growth; (2) regional growth adjustments are the channels through which the inequality and growth are equilibrated; and (3) income inequality is endogenous to regional growth and its adjustment. Results, based on a system of equations estimation, confirm the hypotheses that income inequality has a growth dampening effect; income inequality is endogenous to regional growth and growth adjustment; and the channels through which income inequality determines growth are regional growth adjustments, such as migration and regional adjustment in job and income growth. Results have numerous policy implications: (1) to the extent that income inequality is endogenous, its equilibrium level can be internally determined within a regional growth process; (2) to the extent that traditional income inequality mitigating policies have indirect effect on overall regional growth, they may have unintended indirect effects on income inequality; and (3) to the extent that regional growth adjustment also equilibrates income inequality, such forces can be utilized as policy instruments to mitigate income inequality, and its growth dampening effects hence forth.

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Paper provided by Southern Agricultural Economics Association in its series 2009 Annual Meeting, January 31-February 3, 2009, Atlanta, Georgia with number 46320.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ags:saeana:46320

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Keywords: Income inequality; economic growth; Gini coefficient; growth modeling; population change; per capita income; Community/Rural/Urban Development; Public Economics; I32; J15; O18; P25; R11; R23; R25; R51; R53; R58;

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  1. Aghion, Philippe & Caroli, Eve & García-Peñalosa, Cecilia, 1999. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories," Scholarly Articles 12502063, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Duflo, Esther, 2003. " Inequality and Growth: What Can the Data Say?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 267-99, September.
  3. Roland Benabou, 2000. "Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 96-129, March.
  4. Mills, Edwin S. & Price, Richard, 1984. "Metropolitan suburbanization and central city problems," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 1-17, January.
  5. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-81, September.
  6. Rupasingha, Anil & Goetz, Stephan J. & Freshwater, David, 2006. "The production of social capital in US counties," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 83-101, February.
  7. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
  8. Barro, Robert J, 2000. " Inequality and Growth in a Panel of Countries," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 5-32, March.
  9. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-78, December.
  10. Bourguignon, Francois, 1981. "Pareto Superiority of Unegalitarian Equilibria in Stiglitz' Model of Wealth Distribution with Convex Saving Function," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1469-75, November.
  11. Li, Hongyi & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Income Inequality Is Not Harmful for Growth: Theory and Evidence," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(3), pages 318-34, October.
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