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Finance and Income Inequality: Test of Alternative Theories

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Author Info

  • George Clarke

    (Research Department of the World Bank)

  • Lixin Colin Xu

    (Research Department of the World Bank)

  • Heng-fu Zou

    (Research Department of the World Bank)

Abstract

Although theoretical models make distinct predictions about the relation between finance and income inequality, little empirical research has been conducted to compare their relative explanatory power. We examine the relation between financial intermediary development and income inequality in a panel data set of 91 countries for the period of 1960-95. Our results provide reasonably strong evidence that inequality decreases as economies develop their financial intermediaries, consistent with Galor and Zeira (1993) and Banerjee and Newman (1993). Moreover, consistent with the insight of Kuznets, the relation between the Gini coefficient and financial intermediary development depends on the sectoral structure of the economy: a larger modern sector is associated with a smaller drop in the Gini coefficient for the same level of financial intermediary development. However, there is no evidence of an inverted-U shaped relation between financial sector development and income inequality, as suggested by Greenwood and Jovanovic (1990). The results are robust to controlling for biases introduced by simultaneity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics in its series CEMA Working Papers with number 493.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Policy Research Working Paper Series 2984, The World Bank.
Handle: RePEc:cuf:wpaper:493

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Web page: http://cema.cufe.edu.cn/
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Keywords: Income inequality; financial intermediary development; Kuznets curve;

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References

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  1. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "Legal Determinants of External Finance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1788, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Greenwood, Jeremy & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1988. "Financial Development, Growth, And The Distribution Of Income," Working Papers 88-12, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  3. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "Law and Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1113-1155, December.
  4. Peter L. Rousseau & Paul Wachtel, 1998. "Equity Markets and Growth: Cross-Country Evidence on Timing and Outcomes, 1980-1995," Working Papers 98-09, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  5. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-98, April.
  6. Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Ross Levine, 2000. "A New Database on the Structure and Development of the Financial Sector," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(3), pages 597-605, September.
  7. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-91, September.
  8. Hongyi Li & Lixin Colin Xu & Heng-fu Zou, 2000. "Corruption, Income Distribution, and Growth," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(2), pages 155-182, 07.
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  10. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52, January.
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  13. Levine, Ross & Loayza, Norman & Beck, Thorsten, 1999. "Financial intermediation and growth : Causality and causes," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2059, The World Bank.
  14. Easterly, William & Fischer, Stanley, 2000. "Inflation and the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2335, The World Bank.
  15. Zvi Griliches & Jerry A. Hausman, 1984. "Errors in Variables in Panel Data," NBER Technical Working Papers 0037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Levine, Ross, 1999. "Law, Finance, and Economic Growth," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 8(1-2), pages 8-35, January.
  17. Mattias Lundberg & Lyn Squire, 2003. "The simultaneous evolution of growth and inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(487), pages 326-344, 04.
  18. Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William & Alesina, Alberto, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," Scholarly Articles 4551797, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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