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Inequality

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  • Edward L. Glaeser

Abstract

This paper reviews five striking facts about inequality across countries. As Kuznets (1955) famously first documented, inequality first rises and then falls with income. More unequal societies are much less likely to have democracies or governments that respect property rights. Unequal societies have less redistribution, and we have little idea whether this relationship is caused by redistribution reducing inequality or inequality reducing redistribution. Inequality and ethnic heterogeneity are highly correlated, either because of differences in educational heritages across ethnicities or because ethnic heterogeneity reduces redistribution. Finally, there is much more inequality and less redistribution in the U.S. than in most other developed nations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11511.

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Date of creation: Aug 2005
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11511

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  1. Rodrik, Dani & Alesina, Alberto, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4551798, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 271-303, 09.
  3. Edward L. Glaeser & Jose Scheinkman & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "The Injustice of Inequality," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1967, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Stanley L Engerman & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2002. "Factor Endowments, Inequality, and Paths of Development Among New World Economics," NBER Working Papers 9259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 1999. "Public goods and ethnic divisions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2108, The World Bank.
  6. Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria & Perotti, Roberto & Rostagno, Massimo, 2001. "Electoral Rules and Public Spending," CEPR Discussion Papers 2742, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Checchi, Daniele & Ichino, Andrea & Rustichini, Aldo, 1999. "More equal but less mobile?: Education financing and intergenerational mobility in Italy and in the US," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 351-393, December.
  8. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  9. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "The Economic Effects of Constitutions," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661926, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Jacob L. Vigdor, 2006. "Fifty Million Voters Can't Be Wrong: Economic Self-Interest and Redistributive Politics," NBER Working Papers 12371, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Juan Carlos Cordoba & Geneviève Verdier, 2007. "Lucas vs. Lucas: On Inequality and Growth," IMF Working Papers 07/17, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Dwayne Benjamin & Loren Brandt & John Giles, 2006. "Inequality and Growth in Rural China: Does Higher Inequality Impede Growth?," Working Papers tecipa-237, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.

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