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Social Conflict and Growth

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  • Benhabib, Jess
  • Rustichini, Aldo

Abstract

Despite the predictions of the neoclassical theory of economic growth, we observe that poor countries have invested at lower rates and have not grown faster than rich countries. To explain these empirical regularities we provide a game-theoretic model of conflict between social groups over the distribution of income. Among all possible equilibria, we concentrate on those that are on the constrained Pareto frontier. We study how the level of wealth and the degree of inequality affects growth. We show how lower wealth can lead to lower growth and even to stagnation when the incentives to domestic accumulation are weakened by redistributive considerations. Copyright 1996 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Benhabib, Jess & Rustichini, Aldo, 1996. "Social Conflict and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 125-142, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jecgro:v:1:y:1996:i:1:p:125-42
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Baumol, William J & Wolff, Edward N, 1988. "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1155-1159, December.
    2. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
    3. De Long, J Bradford, 1988. "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1138-1154, December.
    4. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
    5. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    6. Benhabib, Jess & Ferri, Giovanni, 1987. "Bargaining and the evolution of cooperation in a dynamic game," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 107-111.
    7. Benhabib, Jess & Rustichini, Aldo, 1991. "Social Conflict, Growth and Income Distribution," Working Papers 91-22, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
    8. Costas Azariadis & Allan Drazen, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-526.
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