IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/ecolec/v121y2016icp206-219.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Does slow growth lead to rising inequality? Some theoretical reflections and numerical simulations

Author

Listed:
  • Jackson, Tim
  • Victor, Peter A.

Abstract

This paper explores the hypothesis (most notably made by French economist Thomas Piketty) that slow growth rates lead to rising inequality. If true, this hypothesis would pose serious challenges to achieving ‘prosperity without growth’ or meeting the ambitions of those who call for an intentional slowing down of growth on ecological grounds. It would also create problems of social justice in the context of a ‘secular stagnation’. The paper describes a closed, demand-driven, stock-flow consistent model of Savings, Inequality and Growth in a Macroeconomic framework (SIGMA) with exogenous growth and savings rates. SIGMA is used to examine the evolution of inequality in the context of declining economic growth. Contrary to the general hypothesis, we find that inequality does not necessarily increase as growth slows down. In fact, there are certain conditions under which inequality can be reduced significantly, or even eliminated entirely, as growth declines. The paper discusses the implications of this finding for questions of employment, government fiscal policy and the politics of de-growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Jackson, Tim & Victor, Peter A., 2016. "Does slow growth lead to rising inequality? Some theoretical reflections and numerical simulations," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 206-219.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:121:y:2016:i:c:p:206-219
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2015.03.019
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800915001044
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Avi J. Cohen, 2003. "Retrospectives: Whatever Happened to the Cambridge Capital Theory Controversies?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 199-214, Winter.
    2. Campiglio, Emanuele, 2016. "Beyond carbon pricing: The role of banking and monetary policy in financing the transition to a low-carbon economy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 220-230.
    3. Thomas Piketty, 2011. "On the Long-Run Evolution of Inheritance: France 1820--2050," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1071-1131.
    4. Rezai, Armon & Taylor, Lance & Mechler, Reinhard, 2013. "Ecological macroeconomics: An application to climate change," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 69-76.
    5. James Galbraith, 2013. "The Third Crisis in Economics," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(2), pages 311-322.
    6. Herman E. Daly, 1972. "In Defense of a Steady-State Economy," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 54(5), pages 945-954.
    7. Paul Davidson, 2013. "Income inequality and hollowing out the middle class," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(2), pages 381-384.
    8. Taylor, Lance & Rezai, Armon & Foley, Duncan K., 2016. "An integrated approach to climate change, income distribution, employment, and economic growth," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 196-205.
    9. Fontana, Giuseppe & Sawyer, Malcolm, 2016. "Towards post-Keynesian ecological macroeconomics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 186-195.
    10. Cantore, Cristiano & Levine, Paul & Pearlman, Joseph & Yang, Bo, 2015. "CES technology and business cycle fluctuations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 133-151.
    11. Nicholas Kaldor, 1955. "Alternative Theories of Distribution," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 83-100.
    12. Howarth, Richard B. & Kennedy, Kevin, 2016. "Economic growth, inequality, and well-being," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 231-236.
    13. Robert J. Gordon, 2012. "Is U.S. Economic Growth Over? Faltering Innovation Confronts the Six Headwinds," NBER Working Papers 18315, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Antony, Jürgen, 2009. "Capital/Labor substitution, capital deepening, and FDI," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 699-707, December.
    15. repec:epa:cepawp:2014-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Saez, Emmanuel & Zucman, Gabriel, 2014. "Wealth Inequality in the United States since 1913: Evidence from Capitalized Income Tax Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 10227, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Revankar, Nagesh S, 1971. "A Class of Variable Elasticity of Substitution Production Functions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(1), pages 61-71, January.
    18. Stymne, Susanna & Jackson, Tim, 2000. "Intra-generational equity and sustainable welfare: a time series analysis for the UK and Sweden," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 219-236, May.
    19. Joan Robinson, 1953. "The Production Function and the Theory of Capital," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(2), pages 81-106.
    20. Duffy, John & Papageorgiou, Chris, 2000. "A Cross-Country Empirical Investigation of the Aggregate Production Function Specification," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 87-120, March.
    21. Edward N. Wolff & Ajit Zacharias, 2013. "Class structure and economic inequality," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(6), pages 1381-1406.
    22. Gregor Semieniuk, 2014. "Piketty’s Elasticity of Substitution: A Critique," SCEPA working paper series. SCEPA's main areas of research are macroeconomic policy, inequality and poverty, and globalization. 2014-8, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA), The New School.
    23. Wynne Godley, 1999. "Seven Unsustainable Processes: Medium-Term Prospects and Policies for the United States and the World," Economics Strategic Analysis Archive 99-10, Levy Economics Institute.
    24. Bezemer, Dirk J., 2010. "Understanding financial crisis through accounting models," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 676-688, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Stratford, Beth, 2020. "The Threat of Rent Extraction in a Resource-constrained Future," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 169(C).
    2. Tim Jackson & Peter Victor & Ali Asjad Naqvi, 2016. "Towards a Stock-Flow Consistent Ecological Macroeconomics. WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 114," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 58788, December.
    3. Jamie Morgan, 2016. "Understanding Piketty’s capital in the twenty-first century," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(4), pages 612-618, October.
    4. Barrett, Adam B., 2018. "Stability of Zero-growth Economics Analysed with a Minskyan Model," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 228-239.
    5. Yannis Dafermos & Maria Nikolaidi, 2019. "Fiscal policy and ecological sustainability: A post-Keynesian perspective," Working Papers PKWP1912, Post Keynesian Economics Society (PKES).
    6. Adam B. Barrett, 2017. "Stability of zero-growth economics analysed with a Minskyan model," Papers 1704.08161, arXiv.org, revised Nov 2017.
    7. Seyi Saint Akadiri & Ada Chigozie Akadiri, 2018. "Growth and Inequality in Africa: Reconsideration," Academic Journal of Economic Studies, Faculty of Finance, Banking and Accountancy Bucharest,"Dimitrie Cantemir" Christian University Bucharest, vol. 4(3), pages 76-86, September.
    8. Rezai, Armon & Stagl, Sigrid, 2016. "Ecological Macreconomics: Introduction and Review," Ecological Economic Papers 9, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    9. Nabernegg, Stefan & Bednar-Friedl, Birgit & Muñoz, Pablo & Titz, Michaela & Vogel, Johanna, 2019. "National Policies for Global Emission Reductions: Effectiveness of Carbon Emission Reductions in International Supply Chains," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 146-157.
    10. Campiglio, Emanuele, 2016. "Beyond carbon pricing: The role of banking and monetary policy in financing the transition to a low-carbon economy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 220-230.
    11. Ciarli, Tommaso & Savona, Maria, 2019. "Modelling the Evolution of Economic Structure and Climate Change: A Review," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 51-64.
    12. Røpke, Inge, 2016. "Complementary system perspectives in ecological macroeconomics — The example of transition investments during the crisis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 237-245.
    13. Long, Xianling & Ji, Xi, 2019. "Economic Growth Quality, Environmental Sustainability, and Social Welfare in China - Provincial Assessment Based on Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI)," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 157-176.
    14. Yannis Dafermos & Maria Nikolaidi, 2019. "Fiscal policy and ecological sustainability," FMM Working Paper 52-2019, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    15. Larch, Mario & Löning, Markus & Wanner, Joschka, 2018. "Can degrowth overcome the leakage problem of unilateral climate policy?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 118-130.
    16. Taylor, Lance & Rezai, Armon & Foley, Duncan K., 2016. "An integrated approach to climate change, income distribution, employment, and economic growth," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 196-205.
    17. Morgan, Jamie, 2017. "Piketty and the Growth Dilemma Revisited in the Context of Ecological Economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 169-177.
    18. Michalis Nikiforos & Gennaro Zezza, 2017. "Stock†Flow Consistent Macroeconomic Models: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(5), pages 1204-1239, December.
    19. Hardt, Lukas & O'Neill, Daniel W., 2017. "Ecological Macroeconomic Models: Assessing Current Developments," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 198-211.
    20. Safarzyńska, Karolina & van den Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M., 2017. "Financial stability at risk due to investing rapidly in renewable energy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 12-20.

    Corrections

    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:eee:ecolec:v:121:y:2016:i:c:p:206-219. 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: (Haili He). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon .

    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.