Inequality and growth in the very long run: inferring inequality from data on social groups
AbstractIncome distribution data from before the Industrial Revolution usually comes in the shape of social tables: inventories of a range of social groups and their mean incomes. These are frequently reported without adjusting for within-group income dispersion, leading to a systematic downward bias in the reporting of pre industrial inequality. This paper suggests a correction method, and applies it to an existing collection of twenty-five social tables, from Rome in AD 1 to India in 1947. The corrections, using a variety of assumptions on within-group dispersion, lead to substantial increases in the Gini coefficients. Combining the inequality levels with data on GDP, a robust positive relationship between income inequality and economic growth is confirmed. This supports earlier proposals, based on fewer data points, of a "super Kuznets curve" of increasing inequality over the entire pre-industrial period.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Oslo University, Department of Economics in its series Memorandum with number 11/2011.
Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: 28 Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Economics, University of Oslo, P.O Box 1095 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway
Phone: 22 85 51 27
Fax: 22 85 50 35
Web page: http://www.oekonomi.uio.no/indexe.html
More information through EDIRC
Pre-industrial inequality; social tables; Kuznets curve; history;
Other versions of this item:
- Jørgen Modalsli, 2013. "Inequality and growth in the very long run: Inferring inequality from data on social groups," Discussion Papers 734, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
- C65 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Miscellaneous Mathematical Tools
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
- N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
- O11 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-05-07 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2011-05-07 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-SOC-2011-05-07 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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