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Economic Growth and Inequality: Evidence from the Young Democracies of South America

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  • Manoel Bittencourt

Abstract

We investigate in this paper whether income growth has played any role on inequality in all nine young South American democracies during 1970-2007. The results, based on dynamic panel time-series analysis, suggest that income growth has played a progressive role in reducing inequality during the period. Moreover, the results suggest that this negative relationship is stronger in the 1990s and early 2000s, a period in which the continent achieved macroeconomic stabilisation, political consolidation and much improved economic performance. On the contrary, during the 1980s (the so-called "lost decade"), the negative income growth experienced by the continent at the time has hit the poor the hardest, which has consequently lead to an increase in inequality. All in all, we suggest that consistent growth, and all that it encompasses, is an important equaliser which should not be discarded as a plausible option by policy makers interested in a more equal income distribution.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economic Research Southern Africa in its series Working Papers with number 361.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:361

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Keywords: Growth; inequality; South America;

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  1. Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Ross Levine, 2007. "Finance, inequality and the poor," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 27-49, March.
  2. Manoel BITTENCOURT, 2009. "Macroeconomic Performance And Inequality: Brazil, 1983-94," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, vol. 47(1), pages 30-52.
  3. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1993. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth," Papers 537, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
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  8. Spilimbergo, Antonio & Londono, Juan Luis & Szekely, Miguel, 1999. "Income distribution, factor endowments, and trade openness," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 77-101, June.
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  12. de Janvry, Alain & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2000. "Growth, Poverty, and Inequality in Latin America: A Causal Analysis, 1970-94," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(3), pages 267-87, September.
  13. Panizza, Ugo, 2002. " Income Inequality and Economic Growth: Evidence from American Data," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 25-41, March.
  14. Manoel Bittencourt, 2008. "Financial Development and Inequality: Brazil 1985-1994," Working Papers 86, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  15. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong Wha, 2013. "A new data set of educational attainment in the world, 1950–2010," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 184-198.
  16. Judson, Ruth A. & Owen, Ann L., 1999. "Estimating dynamic panel data models: a guide for macroeconomists," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 9-15, October.
  17. Barro, Robert J, 2000. " Inequality and Growth in a Panel of Countries," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 5-32, March.
  18. Li, Hongyi & Squire, Lyn & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 26-43, January.
  19. Steve Bond, 2002. "Dynamic panel data models: a guide to microdata methods and practice," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/02, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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