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A Reassessment of the Relationship between Inequality and Growth

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  • Kristin J. Forbes

Abstract

This paper challenges the current belief that income inequality has a negative relationship with economic growth. It uses an improved data set on income inequality, which not only reduces measurement error, but also allows estimation via a panel technique. Panel estimation makes it possible to control for time-invariant country-specific effects, therefore eliminating a potential source of omitted-variable bias. Results suggest that in the short and medium term, an increase in a country's level of income inequality has a significant positive relationship with subsequent economic growth. This relationship is highly robust across samples, variable definitions, and model specifications.

Suggested Citation

  • Kristin J. Forbes, 2000. "A Reassessment of the Relationship between Inequality and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 869-887, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:90:y:2000:i:4:p:869-887
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.90.4.869
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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