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The Impact of Inequality and Redistribution on Growth


  • Makram El‐Shagi
  • Liang Shao


In this paper, we reassess the impact of inequality on growth. The majority of previous papers have employed (system) GMM estimation. However, recent simulation studies indicate that the problems of GMM when using non‐stationary data such as GDP have been grossly underestimated in applied research. Concerning predetermined regressors such as inequality, GMM is outperformed by a simple least‐squares dummy variable estimator. Additionally, new data have recently become available that not only double the sample size compared to most previous studies, but also address the substantial measurement issues that have plagued past research. Using these new data and an LSDV estimator, we provide an analysis that both accounts for the conditions where inequality is beneficial or detrimental to growth and distinguishes between market‐driven inequality and redistribution. We show that there are situations where market inequality affects growth positively while redistribution is simultaneously beneficial.

Suggested Citation

  • Makram El‐Shagi & Liang Shao, 2019. "The Impact of Inequality and Redistribution on Growth," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 65(2), pages 239-263, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:65:y:2019:i:2:p:239-263
    DOI: 10.1111/roiw.12342

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    Cited by:

    1. Dávila-Fernández, Marwil J. & Punzo, Lionello F., 2021. "The Kuznets curve of the rich," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 45(4).
    2. Pi, Jiancai & Zhang, Pengqing, 2021. "Redistribution and wage inequality," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 510-523.
    3. Liang Frank Shao, 2021. "Robust determinants of income distribution across and within countries," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 16(7), pages 1-29, July.
    4. Foellmi, Reto & Baselgia, Enea, 2022. "Inequality and Growth: A Review on a Great Open Debate in Economics," CEPR Discussion Papers 17483, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Ines A. Ferreira & Rachel M. Gisselquist & Finn Tarp, 2021. "On the impact of inequality on growth, human development, and governance," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2021-34, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Ibrahim Mohamed Ali Ali, 2023. "Income inequality, economic growth, and structural changes in Egypt: new insights from quantile cointegration approach," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 56(1), pages 379-407, February.

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