More evidence on income distribution and growth
AbstractInequality is often regarded as a necessary evil that has to be tolerated to allow growth, says the author. The view that inequality is necessary for the accumulation of wealth, and contains the seeds of eventual increases in everyone's income, is evident in trickle down economic theories, where societal acceptance of inequality allows the rich to earn a greater rate of return on their assets. Others argue that inequality slows growth - because increased inequality causes more conflict over distributional issues, thereby encouraging greater economic intervention and higher taxes. According to the author, the empirical evidence shows that: Inequality is negatively, and robustly, correlated with growth. This result is robust to many different assumptions about the exact form of the cross-country growth regression. Although statistically significant, the magnitude of the relationship between inequality and growth is relatively small. Decreasing inequality from one standard deviation above to one standard deviation below the mean increases the long-term growth rate by about 1.3 percentage points a year. Inequality has a similar effect in democracies and non-democracies. When an interaction term between the type of regime and inequality is included in the base regression, it is insignificant at conventional significance levels. The cross-country data on inequality follows Kuznets'inverted-U shape. Care should be taken in interpreting these results. Although inequality is negatively correlated with growth, this does not necessarily imply that soak-the-rich policies will improve long-term growth. First, theoretical work on inequality and growth stresses thatthis negative correlation is caused by high levels of inequality provoking high levels of government economic intervention. Soak-the-rich policies may be less necessary where there is less inequality. Second, although the partial correlation is robust, the direction of causality has not been determined and the effects of specific income distribution policies have not been tested. Finally, if policies designed to decrease inequality result in greater government consumption and the cost of increased government consumptions outweighs the benefits of greater equality, long-term growth may be harmed. But for certain: inequity is not a prerequisite for growth.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1064.
Date of creation: 31 Dec 1992
Date of revision:
Inequality; Governance Indicators; Poverty Impact Evaluation; Achieving Shared Growth; Economic Theory&Research;
Other versions of this item:
- C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
- L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Danny Quah, 1992.
"Empirical cross-section dynamics in economic growth,"
Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics
75, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Quah, Danny, 1993. "Empirical cross-section dynamics in economic growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 426-434, April.
- Danny Quah, 1992. "Empirical Cross-Section Dynamics in Economic Growth," FMG Discussion Papers dp154, Financial Markets Group.
- William Easterly & Michael Kremer & Lant Pritchett & Lawrence H. Summers, 1993.
"Good Policy or Good Luck? Country Growth Performance and Temporary Shocks,"
NBER Working Papers
4474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Easterly, William & Kremer, Michael & Pritchett, Lant & Summers, Lawrence H., 1993. "Good policy or good luck?: Country growth performance and temporary shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 459-483, December.
- Barro, Robert J. & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992.
3451299, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
- Koenker, Roger, 1981. "A note on studentizing a test for heteroscedasticity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 107-112, September.
- Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1991.
"A sensitivity analysis of cross-country growth regressions,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
609, The World Bank.
- Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-63, September.
- McAleer, Michael & Pagan, Adrian R & Volker, Paul A, 1985.
"What Will Take the Con out of Econometrics?,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 293-307, June.
- Adelman, Irma & Robinson, Sherman, 1989. "Income distribution and development," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 19, pages 949-1003 Elsevier.
- Alesina, Alberto F & Rodrik, Dani, 1991.
"Distributive Politics and Economic Growth,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
565, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Rodrik, Dani & Alesina, Alberto, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4551798, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
- Robert J. Barro, 1991.
"Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries,"
NBER Working Papers
3120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Fields, Gary S, 1989. "Changes in Poverty and Inequality in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 4(2), pages 167-85, July.
- Easterly, William & King, Robert & Levine, Ross & Rebelo, Sergio, 1991.
"How do national policies affect long-run growth? : a research agenda,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
794, The World Bank.
- Easterly, W. & King, R. & Levine, R. & Rebelo, S., 1992. "How Do National Policies Affect Long-Run Growth? A Research Agenda," World Bank - Discussion Papers 164, World Bank.
- Friedman, Milton, 1992. "Do Old Fallacies Ever Die?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 2129-32, December.
- Ghani, Ejaz, 1992. "How financial markets affect long run growth : a cross country study," Policy Research Working Paper Series 843, The World Bank.
- Levi, Maurice D, 1973. "Errors in the Variables Bias in the Presence of Correctly Measured Variables," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(5), pages 985-86, September.
- Breusch, T S & Pagan, A R, 1979. "A Simple Test for Heteroscedasticity and Random Coefficient Variation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1287-94, September.
- Griliches, Zvi, 1986. "Economic data issues," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 25, pages 1465-1514 Elsevier.
- Garber, Steven & Klepper, Steven, 1980. "Extending the Classical Normal Errors-in-Variables Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(6), pages 1541-46, September.
- Summers, Robert & Heston, Alan, 1988. "A New Set of International Comparisons of Real Product and Price Levels Estimates for 130 Countries, 1950-1985," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(1), pages 1-25, March.
- Papanek, Gustav F. & Kyn, Oldrich, 1986. "The effect on income distribution of development, the growth rate and economic strategy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 55-65, September.
- Lindert, Peter H. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1985. "Growth, equality, and history," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 341-377, October.
- Edward E. Leamer, 1982.
"Let's Take the Con Out of Econometrics,"
UCLA Economics Working Papers
239, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Ahluwalia, Montek S., 1976. "Inequality, poverty and development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 307-342, December.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.