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When More Poor Means Less Poverty: On Income Inequality and Purchasing Power

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Author Info

  • Bergh, Andreas

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Lund University)

  • Nilsson, Therese

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Lund University)

Abstract

We show theoretically that the poor can benefit from price changes induced by higher income inequality. As the number of poor in a society increases, or when the income difference between rich and poor increases, the market for products aimed towards the poor grows and such products become more profitable. As a result, there are circumstances where an increase in poverty associates with higher purchasing power of the poor. Using cross-country data at two points in time on the price of rice and Big Mac hamburgers, we confirm the relationship between inequality and purchasing power of the poor, and show that it is robust to several control variables and also to a first-difference specification.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Lund University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2012:2.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: 09 Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2012_002

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Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund,Sweden
Phone: +46 +46 222 0000
Fax: +46 +46 2224613
Web page: http://www.nek.lu.se/en
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Keywords: Income Inequality; Poverty; Purchasing Power;

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References

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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Linn, 2004. "Market Size in Innovation: Theory and Evidence from the Pharmaceutical Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 1049-1090, August.
  2. Deaton, A. & Paxson, C., 1993. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," Papers 168, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  3. Pendakur, K., 1999. "Taking Prices Seriously in the Measurement of Inequality," Discussion Papers dp99-7, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
  4. Dave D. Weatherspoon & Thomas Reardon, 2003. "The Rise of Supermarkets in Africa: Implications for Agrifood Systems and the Rural Poor," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 21, pages 333-355, 05.
  5. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2006. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 163-193.
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Cited by:
  1. Abhimanyu Dadu & Namrata Gulati, 2014. "Inequality, neighborhoods and variation in prices," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2014-001, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.

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