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Income Inequality and Economic Growth: A Simple Theoretical Synthesis

  • Been-Lon Chen

    (Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica)

  • Jang-Ting Guo

    (Department of Economics, University of California)

We show that in an AK model of endogenous growth with CRRA specifications for both private and public consumption goods, income inequality exerts theoretically ambiguous effects on the optimal capital tax rate and the economy¡¯s growth rate. In a calibrated version of the model, we find that the parameter space can be clearly divided into regions that exhibit a positive or negative relationship between income inequality and economic growth. Hence, our analysis provides a theoretical synthesis on the relationship between inequality and growth and helps bring together some recent results in the literature.

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Article provided by Society for AEF in its journal Annals of Economics and Finance.

Volume (Year): 6 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (November)
Pages: 319-329

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Handle: RePEc:cuf:journl:y:2005:v:6:i:2:p:319-329
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  1. Clarke, George R. G., 1995. "More evidence on income distribution and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 403-427, August.
  2. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1998. "New ways of looking at old issues: inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 259-287.
  3. Alesina, Alberto F & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 565, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Aghion, Philippe & Caroli, Eve & García-Peñalosa, Cecilia, 1999. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories," Scholarly Articles 12502063, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Cooley, T.F. & Hansen, G.D., 1991. "Tax Distortions in a Neoclassical Monetary Economy," RCER Working Papers 265, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  6. Barro, Robert J, 2000. " Inequality and Growth in a Panel of Countries," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 5-32, March.
  7. Savvides, Andreas & Stengos, Thanasis, 2000. "Income inequality and economic development: evidence from the threshold regression model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 207-212, November.
  8. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2000. "Inequality and Growth: What Can the Data Say?," NBER Working Papers 7793, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. McGrattan, Ellen R & Rogerson, Richard & Wright, Randall, 1997. "An Equilibrium Model of the Business Cycle with Household Production and Fiscal Policy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(2), pages 267-90, May.
  10. Klaus Deininger & Lyn Squire, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 512, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  11. 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.
  12. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1993. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth," Papers 537, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  13. Hongyi Li & Danyang Xie & Heng-fu Zou, 2002. "Dynamics of Income Distribution," GE, Growth, Math methods 0210001, EconWPA.
  14. Chen, Been-Lon, 2003. "An inverted-U relationship between inequality and long-run growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 205-212, February.
  15. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Heng-fu Zou, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 73, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  16. Hongyi Li & Heng-fu Zou, 1998. "Income Inequality Is Not Harmful for Growth: Theory and Evidence," CEMA Working Papers 74, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  17. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1999. "A Data Set on Income Distribution," CEMA Working Papers 575, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
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