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Inequality of Opportunity and Growth

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  • Gustavo A. Marrero
  • Juan G. Rodríguez

Abstract

Theoretical and empirical studies exploring the effects of income inequality upon growth reach a disappointing inconclusive result. This paper postulates that one reason for this ambiguity is that income inequality is actually a composite measure of at least two different sorts of inequality: inequality of opportunity and inequality of effort. These two types of inequality affect growth through opposite channels, so the relationship between income inequality and growth is positive or negative depending on which component is larger. We test this proposal using inequality-of- opportunity measures computed from the PSID database for 23 states of the U.S. in 1980 and 1990. We find robust support for a negative relationship between inequality of opportunity and growth, and a positive relationship between inequality of effort and growth.

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Paper provided by FEDEA in its series Working Papers with number 2009-24.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fda:fdaddt:2009-24

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Cited by:
  1. Pedro Olinto & Jaime Saavedra, 2012. "An Overview of Global Income Inequality Trends," World Bank - Inequality in Focus, The World Bank, vol. 1(1), pages 1-4, April.
  2. Aitor Calo Blanco & J. Ignacio García Pérez, 2012. "On the welfare loss caused by inequality of opportunity," Working Papers 12.12, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.
  3. Francisco H.G. Ferreira, 2012. "Inequality of Opportunity Around the World: What Do We Know So Far?," World Bank - Inequality in Focus, The World Bank, vol. 1(1), pages 8 - 11, April.
  4. Brunori, Paolo & Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Peragine, Vito, 2013. "Inequality of Opportunity, Income Inequality and Economic Mobility: Some International Comparisons," IZA Discussion Papers 7155, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Vito Peragine & Flaviana Palmisano & Paolo Brunori, 2011. "Economic growth and equality of opportunity," Working Papers 232, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  6. X. Ramos & D. Van De Gaer, 2012. "Empirical Approaches to Inequality of Opportunity: Principles, Measures, and Evidence," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 12/792, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  7. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Gignoux, Jeremie & Aran, Meltem, 2010. "Measuring inequality of opportunity with imperfect data : the case of Turkey," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5204, The World Bank.
  8. Narayan, Ambar & Saavedra-Chanduvi, Jaime & Tiwari, Sailesh, 2013. "Shared prosperity : links to growth, inequality and inequality of opportunity," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6649, The World Bank.
  9. Luis F. Lopez-Calva, 2012. "Declining Income Inequality in Brazil: The Proud Outlier," World Bank - Inequality in Focus, The World Bank, vol. 1(1), pages 5-8, April.

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