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Equité et croissance économique : une nouvelle analyse ?


  • François Bourguignon


[eng] This paper offers a survey of the recent literature on the relationship between the equity of the distribution of income or wealth and the rate of growth of an economy. For a large part, this literature arose in connection with the development of « new growth » models which led to a significant change in the way to introduce distributional issues in a growth framework. Of special importance is the fact that several theoretical models point to a positive relationship data seem to confirm such a relationship. Such findings seem to go against the conventional wisdom that equalizing the income distribution would harm growth. However, it is argued in the present paper that the available empirical evidence of a complementarity between equity and growth is presently extremely weak and that the policy implications of such a relationship through available theoretical models are rather ambiguous. In particular, it remains the case that redistribution of current income is detrimental to growth so that more equity must actually be obtained through asset rather than income redistribution. A convincing case may thus been made on the basis of this type of argument in favor of equalizing incomes through fostering education and the accumulation of human capital. [fre] Cet article offre une synthèse de la littérature récente sur la relation existant entre l'équité de la distribution des revenus et des patrimoines, et le taux de croissance d'une économie. Pour une large part, cette littérature est liée au développement de la « nouvelle théorie de la croissance » qui a effectivement conduit à une modification significative de la façon d'introduire les phénomènes distributifs dans le cadre d'un modèle de croissance. De grande importance est le fait que la plupart des modèles théoriques concluent à une relation positive entre l'égalité de la distribution et le taux de croissance et que les études empiriques disponibles sur données transversales tendent à confirmer cette hypothèse. Ces résultats semblent aller contre l'idée conventionnelle que l'égalisation de la distribution des revenus devrait diminuer la croissance. Il est montré ici que les preuves empiriques d'une complémentarité entre équité et croissance sont en fait très fragiles et que les implications de politique économique d'une telle relation, telles qu'on peut les déduire des modèles théoriques disponibles, sont très ambiguës. En particulier, il reste vrai que la redistribution du revenu courant va contre la croissance, de telle sorte que les gains d'équité doivent être obtenus à travers une redistribution des actifs plutôt que du revenu courant. Ceci semblerait plaider en faveur d'une égalisation des revenus par le développement de l'éducation et l'accumulation de capital humain.

Suggested Citation

  • François Bourguignon, 1998. "Equité et croissance économique : une nouvelle analyse ?," Revue Française d'Économie, Programme National Persée, vol. 13(3), pages 25-84.
  • Handle: RePEc:prs:rfreco:rfeco_0769-0479_1998_num_13_3_1061
    Note: DOI:10.3406/rfeco.1998.1061

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    Cited by:

    1. Christophe Ehrhart, 2009. "The effects of inequality on growth: a survey of the theoretical and empirical literature," Working Papers 107, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    2. Magali Jaoul-Grammare, 2011. "L’évolution des inégalités dans l’enseignement supérieur universitaire français. L’influence des réformes institutionnelles et des ruptures économiques," Working Papers 11-06, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC).

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