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Inequality, Growth, and Poverty in an Era of Liberalization and Globalization


  • Cornia, Giovanni Andrea
    (University of Florence)


Within-country income inequality has risen since the early 1980s in most of the OECD, all transitional, and many developing countries. More recently, inequality has risen also in India and nations affected by the Asian crisis. Altogether, over the last twenty years, inequality worsened in 70 per cent of the 73 countries analysed in this volume, with the Gini index rising by over five points in half of them. In several cases, the Gini index follows a U-shaped pattern, with the turn-around point located between the late 1970s and early 1990s. Where the shift towards liberalization and globalization was concluded, the right arm of the U stabilized at the 'steady state level of inequality' typical of the new policy regime, as observed in the UK after 1990. Mainstream theory focusing on rises in wage differentials by skill caused by either North-South trade, migration, or technological change poorly explains the recent rise in income inequality. Likewise, while the traditional causes of income polarization-high land concentration, unequal access to education, the urban bias, the 'curse of natural resources'-still account for much of cross-country variation in income inequality, they cannot explain its recent rise. This volume suggests that the recent rise in income inequality was caused to a considerable extent by a policy-driven worsening in factorial income distribution, wage spread and spatial inequality. In this regard, the volume discusses the distributive impact of reforms in trade and financial liberalization, taxation, public expenditure, safety nets, and labour markets. The volume thus represents one of the first attempts to analyse systematically the relation between policy changes inspired by liberalization and globalization and income inequality. It suggests that capital account liberalization appears to have had-on average-the strongest disequalizing effect, followed by domestic financial liberalization, labour market deregulation, and tax reform. Trade liberalization had unclear effects, while public expenditure reform often had positive effects. Available in OSO: Contributors to this volume - Prof. Tony Addison Deputy Director World Institute for Development Economics Research (WIDER) Prof. Anthony B. Atkinson Warden, Nuffield College, Oxford University Prof. Michael Carter BASIS Director Dept. of Agricultural and Applied Economics University of Wisconsin-Madison Prof. Daniele Checchi Facolta di Scienze Statistiche Universita degli Studi di Milano Bicocca Dr. Ke-young Chu Dept. of Economics Wesleyan University Prof. Giovanni Andrea Cornia Department of Economics University of Florence Dr. Hamid Davoodi International Monetary Fund Dr. Rahul Dhumale Senior Economist Federal Reserve Bank USA Prof. Robert Eastwood School of Social Sciences University of Sussex Dr. Sanjeev Gupta Chief of Expenditure Policy Division, Fiscal Affairs Department IMF Prof. Isra Sarntisart Faculty of Economics Chulalongkorn University Thailand Dr. Carolyn Jenkins Research Associate Centre for the Study of African Economies University of Oxford Prof. Raghbendra Jha Executive Director, Australia South Asia Research Centre Australian National University Dr. Sampsa Kiiski Helsinki, Finland Prof. Michael Lipton Poverty Research Unit University of Sussex UK Dr. Sanjay G. Reddy Dept. of Economics Barnard College Columbia University Prof. Francisco Rodriguez C. Chief Economist, Venezuelan National Assembly Dr. Catherine Saget Employment Sector International Labour Organisation Prof. Ajit Singh Senior Fellow, Queens' College Cambridge University Prof. Lance Taylor Arnhold Professor of International and Cooperation and Development New School University New York Dr. Lynne Thomas Centre for Research into Economics and Finance in Southern Africa London School of Economics Prof. Rolph van der Hoeven Employment Sector International Labour Organisation Prof. A. Erinc Yeldan Department of Economics Bilkent University Turkey

Suggested Citation

  • Cornia, Giovanni Andrea (ed.), 2004. "Inequality, Growth, and Poverty in an Era of Liberalization and Globalization," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199271412.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxp:obooks:9780199271412

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

    Cited by:

    1. Ricardo Fuentes, 2005. "Poverty, Pro-Poor Growth and Simulated Inequality Reduction," Human Development Occasional Papers (1992-2007) HDOCPA-2005-11, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
    2. Joshi, Niraj Prakash & Maharjan, Keshav Lall & Piya, Luni, 2010. "Poverty and Food Insecurity in Nepal A Review," MPRA Paper 35387, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, "undated". "Inequality Levels, Trends and Determinants in sub-Saharan Africa: An overview of main changes since the early 1990s," UNDP Africa Policy Notes 2017-03, United Nations Development Programme, Regional Bureau for Africa.
    4. Giovanna Andrea Cornia & Antonio Scognamillo, 2016. "Clusters of Least Developed Countries, their evolution between 1993 and 2013, and policies to expand their productive capacity," CDP Background Papers 033, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.
    5. Maurizio Franzini & Mario Pianta, 2015. "Four engines of inequality," LEM Papers Series 2015/20, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    6. Albert Berry & John Serieux, 2006. "Riding the Elephants: The Evolution of World Economic Growth and Income Distribution at the End of the Twentieth Century (1980-2000)," Working Papers 27, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.
    7. C. Peter Timmer, 2004. "The road to pro-poor growth: the Indonesian experience in regional perspective," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(2), pages 177-207.
    8. Beja, Edsel Jr., 2011. "Subjective well-being approach to the valuation of income inequality," MPRA Paper 34177, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Maurizio Franzini & Mario Pianta, 2015. "The making of inequality.Capital, labour and the distribution of income," Working Papers 1507, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics - Scientific Committee - L. Stefanini & G. Travaglini, revised 2015.
    10. repec:spr:qualqt:v:51:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s11135-016-0381-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:rnp:ecopol:ep1760 is not listed on IDEAS

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