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Inequality and growth: the neglected time dimension

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  • Daniel Halter
  • Manuel Oechslin
  • Josef Zweimüller

Abstract

Inequality affects economic performance through many mechanisms, both beneficial and harmful. Moreover, some of these mechanisms tend to set in fast while others are rather slow. The present paper (i) introduces a simple theoretical model to study how changes in inequality affect economic growth over different time horizons; (ii) empirically investigates the inequality–growth relationship, thereby relying on specifications derived from the theory. Our empirical findings are in line with the theoretical predictions: Higher inequality helps economic performance in the short term but reduces the growth rate of GDP per capita farther in the future. The long-run (or total) effect of higher inequality tends to be negative. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Halter & Manuel Oechslin & Josef Zweimüller, 2014. "Inequality and growth: the neglected time dimension," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 81-104, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jecgro:v:19:y:2014:i:1:p:81-104
    DOI: 10.1007/s10887-013-9099-8
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality; Economic growth; Short-term effects ; Long-run effects; O11; O15; O43;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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