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The Shape of the Income Distribution and Economic Growth – Evidence from Swedish Labor Market Regions


  • Dan‐Olof Rooth
  • Anders Stenberg


We analyze the association between inequality and growth across 72 labor market regions in Sweden 1990-2006. Highly accurate measures of growth and inequality (gini, Q3, p9075, p5010) are derived from population register data. The regional set-up also reduces problems with omitted variable bias and endogeneity found in cross country comparisons since the regions within a country share the same redistributive policies and institutions. The findings suggest that inequality between the 90th and 75th percentiles enhances regional growth. This result no longer holds when we take into account changes in commuting patterns. Although only suggestive, the finding is interesting in that it is consistent with the hypothesis that inequality enhances growth by stimulating commuting incentives.
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Suggested Citation

  • Dan‐Olof Rooth & Anders Stenberg, 2012. "The Shape of the Income Distribution and Economic Growth – Evidence from Swedish Labor Market Regions," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 59(2), pages 196-223, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scotjp:v:59:y:2012:i:2:p:196-223

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Oskar Nordström Skans & Per-Anders Edin & Bertil Holmlund, 2009. "Wage Dispersion Between and Within Plants: Sweden 1985-2000," NBER Chapters,in: The Structure of Wages: An International Comparison, pages 217-260 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Sarah Voitchovsky, 2005. "Does the Profile of Income Inequality Matter for Economic Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 273-296, September.
    3. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Vassilis Tselios, 2010. "Inequalities in income and education and regional economic growth in western Europe," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 44(2), pages 349-375, April.
    4. Borjas, George J. & Bronars, Stephen G. & Trejo, Stephen J., 1992. "Self-selection and internal migration in the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 159-185, September.
    5. Anders Björklund & Richard B. Freeman, 2010. "Searching for Optimal Inequality/Incentives," NBER Chapters,in: Reforming the Welfare State: Recovery and Beyond in Sweden, pages 25-56 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eleftherios Goulas & Athina Zervoyianni, 2013. "The Growth-Crime Relationship: Are There any Asymmetries?," Working Paper series 54_13, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    2. James Alm & Ruslan Grigoryev & Marat Kramin & Timur Kramin, 2016. "Testing Kuznets’ Hypothesis for Russian Regions: Trends and Interpretations," Economy of region, Centre for Economic Security, Institute of Economics of Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, vol. 1(2), pages 560-568.
    3. Maru?a Pescu (Beca) & Camelia ?tefan (Baraba?), 2016. "The Effects of Gaps and Disparities on Economic Growth. A Study of 10 Former Socialist Countries from the CEE, Members of the EU," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 18(43), pages 592-592, August.
    4. Goulas, Eleftherios & Zervoyianni, Athina, 2013. "Growth, deficits and uncertainty: Theoretical aspects and empirical evidence from a panel of 27 countries," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 380-392.
    5. Eleftherios Goulas & Athina Zervoyianni, 2013. "Growth, Deficits and Uncertainty: Theoretical Aspects and Empirical Evidence," Working Paper series 53_13, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    6. repec:eee:ecmode:v:65:y:2017:i:c:p:119-128 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Goulas, Eleftherios & Zervoyianni, Athina, 2015. "Economic growth and crime: Is there an asymmetric relationship?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 286-295.
    8. Adalgiso Amendola & Roberto Dell’Anno, 2014. "Income inequality and economic growth: an empirical investigation in Mediterranean countries," RIEDS - Rivista Italiana di Economia, Demografia e Statistica - Italian Review of Economics, Demography and Statistics, SIEDS Societa' Italiana di Economia Demografia e Statistica, vol. 68(2), pages 35-58, April-Jun.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers


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