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Social Capital And The Reproduction Of Inequality In Socially Polarized Economies

  • Mogues, Tewodaj
  • Carter, Michael R.

This paper explores the idea that how wealth is distributed across social groups (ethnic or language groups, gender, etc.) fundamentally affects the evolution of economic inequality. By providing microfoundations suitable for this exploration, this paper hopes to enhance our understanding of when social forces contribute to the reproduction of economic inequality, and what the relevant policy implications might be. In tackling this issue, this paper offers contributions in two domains. First, it adds a dimension to the literature on social capital. Second, it offers a modest generalization of the concepts of identity, alienation and economic polarization used by Esteban and Ray (1994). This generalization permits us to consider the multiple characteristics that shape social identity, inclusion and exclusion. It also underwrites a higher-order measure of socio-economic polarization that permits us to explore the hypothesis of Frances Stewart and others that economic inequality is most pernicious and persistent when it is socially embedded. Among other things we are able to show that holding constant the initial levels of economic polarization and inequality, increases in socio-economic polarization deepen the reproduction of economic inequality.

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Paper provided by American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association) in its series 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO with number 20132.

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Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea04:20132
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  1. Besley, T. & Coate, S., 1991. "Group Lending, Repayment Incentives And Social Collateral," Papers 152, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  2. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:109:y:1994:i:2:p:465-90 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Marcel Fafchamps & Steven N. Durlauf, 2004. "Social Capital," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2004-14, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    • Durlauf, Steven N. & Fafchamps, Marcel, 2005. "Social Capital," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 26, pages 1639-1699 Elsevier.
  4. Birdsall, Nancy & Londono, Juan Luis, 1997. "Asset Inequality Matters: An Assessment of the World Bank's Approach to Poverty Reduction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 32-37, May.
  5. Durlauf,S.N., 1999. "The case "against" social capital," Working papers 29, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  6. Garcia-Penalosa, Cecilia & Aghion, Philippe & Caroli, Eve, 1999. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/10091, Paris Dauphine University.
  7. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
  8. Fafchamps, Marcel & Minten, Bart, 1998. "Relationships and traders in Madagascar," MTID discussion papers 24, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  9. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
  10. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1994. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 819-51, July.
  12. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:3:p:715-753 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, . "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," Working Papers 151, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  14. Howard Bodenhorn & Christopher S. Ruebeck, 2003. "The Economics of Identity and the Endogeneity of Race," NBER Working Papers 9962, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1998. "New ways of looking at old issues: inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 259-287.
  16. Coate, Stephen & Ravallion, Martin, 1993. "Reciprocity without commitment : Characterization and performance of informal insurance arrangements," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-24, February.
  17. Benoit, Jean-Pierre & Krishna, Vijay, 1985. "Finitely Repeated Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(4), pages 905-22, July.
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