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Is There an Openness Kuznets Curve?

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  • Stephen Dobson
  • Carlyn Ramlogan

Abstract

One of the key features of research on income inequality is the search for a Kuznets curve. Two curvilinear relationships in particular have been documented in the literature: one between inequality and income and the other between inequality and environmental factors. More recently, inequality and its link to trade liberalisation has received a good deal of attention, not least because it is among the major controversies provoked by the globalisation process. The outcomes for developing countries of greater openness do not fit neatly with the predictions of standard trade theory. Given this, it is natural to ask whether the relationship between trade openness and inequality may be better understood in terms of the Kuznets hypothesis. To this end, the study tests the Kuznets hypothesis in the context of trade liberalisation using data for Latin America. The evidence is new and is consistent with the Kuznets hypothesis: inequality increases with trade openness until a critical level of openness is reached after which inequality begins to fall. The curvilinear relationship between openness and inequality suggests that Latin American countries should continue with trade liberalisation measures but also introduce redistribution policies to ease the (initial) adverse consequences of liberalisation. Copyright 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Dobson & Carlyn Ramlogan, 2009. "Is There an Openness Kuznets Curve?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 226-238, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:62:y:2009:i:2:p:226-238
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jorge Saba Arbache & Andy Dickerson & Francis Green, 2004. "Trade Liberalisation and Wages in Developing Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(493), pages 73-96, February.
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    8. Gordon H. Hanson & Ann Harrison, 1999. "Trade Liberalization and Wage Inequality in Mexico," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(2), pages 271-288, January.
    9. Shafik, Nemat, 1994. "Economic Development and Environmental Quality: An Econometric Analysis," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(0), pages 757-773, Supplemen.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tobias F. Rötheli, 2011. "The Kuznets curve: determinants of its shape and the role of finance," Studies in Economics and Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 28(2), pages 149-159, June.
    2. Gimet, Céline & Lagoarde-Segot, Thomas, 2011. "A closer look at financial development and income distribution," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 1698-1713, July.
    3. Paweenawat, Sasiwimon Warunsiri & McNown, Robert, 2014. "The determinants of income inequality in Thailand: A synthetic cohort analysis," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31, pages 10-21.
    4. Jalil, Abdul, 2012. "Modeling income inequality and openness in the framework of Kuznets curve: New evidence from China," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 309-315.
    5. Atici, Cemal, 2012. "Carbon emissions, trade liberalization, and the Japan–ASEAN interaction: A group-wise examination," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 167-178.
    6. Bukhari, Mahnoor & Munir, Kashif, 2016. "Impact of Globalization on Income Inequality in Selected Asian Countries," MPRA Paper 74248, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. repec:spr:jknowl:v:8:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s13132-016-0431-3 is not listed on IDEAS

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