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On the Nature of Income Inequality Across Nations

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  • Pedro Cavalcanti Ferreira

    (Fundacao Getulio Vargas)

  • Samuel deAbreu Pessoa

    (Getulio Vargas Foundation)

  • Joao Victor Issler

    (Getulio Vargas Foundation)

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the nature of income inequality across nations by first estimating, testing, and distinguishing between two types of aggregate production functions: the extended neoclassical model and a mincerian formulation of schooling-returns to skills. Next, given our panel-data estimates, we proceed in decomposing the variance of the (log) level of output per-worker in 1985 into that of three distinct factors: productivity, human capital, and the dynamic incentives to accumulate capital. Finally, we classify a group of 95 countries according to their relative position (above or below average) for each of these factors. The picture that emerges from these last two exercises is one where countries grew in the past for different reasons, which should be considered for policy design. Although there is not a single-factor explanation for the difference in output per-worker across nations, it seems that productivity differences can explain a considerable portion of income inequality, followed second by dynamic inefficiencies and third by human capital accumulation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers with number 1487.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:1487

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  1. Islam, Nazrul, 1995. "Growth Empirics: A Panel Data Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1127-70, November.
  2. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker Than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116, February.
  3. Ellen R. McGrattan, 1991. "The macroeconomic effects of distortionary taxation," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 37, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Gregory Mankiw, 1995. "The Growth of Nations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 275-326.
  5. Edward C. Prescott, 1997. "Needed: a theory of total factor productivity," Staff Report 242, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong Wha, 1996. "International Measures of Schooling Years and Schooling Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 218-23, May.
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  8. Barro, Robert J, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-43, May.
  9. Psacharopoulos, George, 1994. "Returns to investment in education: A global update," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(9), pages 1325-1343, September.
  10. William Easterly & Michael Kremer & Lant Pritchett & Lawrence H. Summers, 1993. "Good Policy or Good Luck? Country Growth Performance and Temporary Shocks," NBER Working Papers 4474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 1998. "Does Schooling Cause Growth or the Other Way Around?," NBER Working Papers 6393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Douglas Gollin, 2001. "Getting Income Shares Right," Department of Economics Working Papers 2001-11, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  13. Barro, Robert J & Mankiw, N Gregory & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1995. "Capital Mobility in Neoclassical Models of Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 103-15, March.
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  15. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Why Doesn't Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 92-96, May.
  16. Willis, Robert J., 1987. "Wage determinants: A survey and reinterpretation of human capital earnings functions," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 525-602 Elsevier.
  17. Parente, Stephen L & Prescott, Edward C, 1994. "Barriers to Technology Adoption and Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 298-321, April.
  18. Nehru, Vikram & Dhareshwar, Ashok & DEC, 1994. "New estimates of total factor productivity growth for developing and industrial countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1313, The World Bank.
  19. Benhabib, Jess & Spiegel, Mark M., 1994. "The role of human capital in economic development evidence from aggregate cross-country data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 143-173, October.
  20. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 1996. "The Poverty of Nations: A Quantitative Exploration," NBER Working Papers 5414, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Peter Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 1997. "The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 73-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Milton Barossi-Filho & Ricardo Gonçalves Silva & Eliezer Martins Diniz, 2005. "The empirics of the Solow growth model: Long-term evidence," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 31-51, May.
  2. Jess Enrique Morales Pi?ro, 2004. "Labour Market Frictions, Social Policies, and Barriers to Technology Adoption," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 633.04, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  3. Samuel de Abreu Pessôa, 2001. "Um Modelo de Acumulação de Capital Físico e Humano: Um Diálogo Com a Economia do Trabalho," Anais do XXIX Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 29th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 035, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
  4. Pedro Cavalcanti Ferreira & Osmani Teixeira de Carvalho Guillén, 2002. "Estrutura Competitiva, Produtividade Industrial e Liberação Comercial no Brasil," Working Papers Series 44, Central Bank of Brazil, Research Department.

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