IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Inequality and Innovativeness


  • Scott E Page

    () (University of Michigan)

  • John Vandermeer

    () (University of Michigan)


In this note, we construct two theoretical models that analyze the relationship between inequality of access and rates of innovation as well as correlative data that show a negative correlation between income inequality and levels of innovativeness. Our two models suggest that unequal access to problems slows innovation by reducing the level and variety of human capital applied to problems. More interestingly, both models show that the rate of innovation decline becomes much more pronounced as problems become more difficult. Thus, the costs of inequality may be increasing as the problems that societies face become more challenging.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott E Page & John Vandermeer, 2013. "Inequality and Innovativeness," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(1), pages 1-59.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-13-00126

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jennifer Hunt & Marjolaine Gauthier-Loiselle, 2010. "How Much Does Immigration Boost Innovation?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 31-56, April.
    2. Saint-Paul, Gilles & Verdier, Thierry, 1993. "Education, democracy and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 399-407, December.
    3. Steven Callander, 2011. "Searching and Learning by Trial and Error," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2277-2308, October.
    4. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Diversity; Inequality; Innovation; Problem Solving;

    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-13-00126. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (John P. Conley). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.