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Land inequality and economic growth: a dynamic panel data approach

  • Ricardo Fort

The growing body of literature devoted to studying the impact of inequality on economic growth has centered its attention on the income distribution effect, even though the theoretical relationships are more related to assets distribution. While some recent studies have tried to overcome this limitation by introducing asset indicators, they meet new constraints when dealing only with time-invariant measurements for this explanatory variable. This article provides a theoretical discussion and some novel empirical tests to better understand the relationships between assets distribution and economic growth. We assembled a new panel database that includes observations for more than 30 countries over the last three decades. The data include a time-varying variable for changes in the Land Gini index over this period that enables us to overcome the limitations of previous studies. A system general method of moments (GMM) estimator is used to generate truly unbiased and consistent estimates for the parameters of interest. We explore some of the likely channels through which asset distribution and economic growth may be linked, paying particular attention to the role of secure property rights and the relations between land ownership and education. We find robust and significant negative signs for land inequality in the growth regressions, indicating that changes in asset distribution are an important factor for economic development. Copyright 2007 International Association of Agricultural Economists.

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File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1574-0862.2007.00262.x
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Article provided by International Association of Agricultural Economists in its journal Agricultural Economics.

Volume (Year): 37 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (09)
Pages: 159-165

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Handle: RePEc:bla:agecon:v:37:y:2007:i:2-3:p:159-165
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