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The Injustice of Inequality

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  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Jose Scheinkman
  • Andrei Shleifer

Abstract

In many countries, the operation of legal, political and regulatory institutions is subverted by the wealthy and the politically powerful for their own benefit. This subversion takes the form of corruption, intimidation, and other forms of influence. We present a model of such institutional subversion – focusing specifically on courts – and of the effects of inequality in economic and political resources on the magnitude of subversion. We then use the model to analyze the consequences of institutional subversion for the law and order environment in the country, as well as for capital accumulation and growth. We illustrate the model with historical evidence from Gilded Age United States and the transition economies of the 1990s. We also present some cross-country evidence consistent with the basic prediction of the model.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 1967.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1967

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  1. 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.
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  8. Edward Glaeser & Simon Johnson & Andrei Shleifer, 2001. "Coase Versus The Coasians," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 853-899, August.
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  29. repec:fth:coluec:595 is not listed on IDEAS
  30. Barro, Robert J, 1996. " Democracy and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-27, March.
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