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On Regional Inequality and Growth in India: Theory and Evidence

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  • Sugata Ghosh

    (Cardiff University)

  • Sarmistha Pal

    (Cardiff University)

Abstract

This paper examines, both theoretically and empirically, how initial inequality affects economic growth with particular reference to the subnational states in India, for which no such evidence exists. The theoretical model is characterized by endogenous growth within an OLG set-up, where growth of the subnational economy is driven by productive public investment financed by a linear output tax, and the optimum tax is determined by the median voter rule. State-level data for the period 1960-94 from sixteen major subnational states in India are used to investigate the nature of the 'reverse causation'. Both single cross-section and pooled regression estimates suggest a negative relationship between initial inequality and growth: more initially unequal states need to have more redistributive measures as dictated by the majority voters which in turn creates distortionary effects and lower growth. However rural inequality seems to matter more than urban inequality.

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Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers with number 1391.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:1391

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  1. Saint-Paul, G. & Verdier, T., 1991. "Education, Democracy and growth," DELTA Working Papers 91-27, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  2. Alesina, Alberto F & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 565, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  4. 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.
  5. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1998. "Consumption Inequality And Income Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 603-640, May.
  6. Banerjee, Abhijit & Newman, Andrew F, 1998. "Information, the Dual Economy, and Development," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 631-53, October.
  7. 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.
  8. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985. "Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-47, April.
  9. Paul Cashin & Ratna Sahay, 1995. "Internal Migration, Center-State Grants and Economic Growth in the States of India," IMF Working Papers 95/66, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
  11. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1993. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth," Papers 537, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  12. Perotti, Roberto, 1993. "Political Equilibrium, Income Distribution, and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(4), pages 755-76, October.
  13. Partridge, Mark D, 1997. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth? Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 1019-32, December.
  14. Ravallion, Martin, 1995. "Growth and poverty: Evidence for developing countries in the 1980s," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(3-4), pages 411-417, June.
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