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Growth, income distribution, and fiscal policy volatility

  • Woo, Jaejoon

The relationship between income distribution and economic growth has long been an important economic research subject. Despite substantial evidence on the negative impact on long-term growth of inequality in the literature, however, there is not much consensus on the specific channels through which inequality affects growth. The empirical validity of two most prominent political economy channels - redistributive fiscal spending and taxes, and sociopolitical instability - has recently been challenged. We advance a new political economy channel for the negative link between inequality and growth, a fiscal policy volatility channel, and present strong supporting econometric evidence in a large sample of countries over the period of 1960-2000. Our finding also sheds light on another commonly observed negative relation between macroeconomic volatility and growth. We carefully address the robustness of the results in terms of data, estimation methods, outlier problem, and endogeneity problem that often plague the standard OLS (ordinary least squares) regression.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 96 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (November)
Pages: 289-313

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:96:y:2011:i:2:p:289-313
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