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How does inequality affect long-run growth?

Listed author(s):
  • Roxana Gutiérrez-Romero

This article shows that countries with higher historical levels of income inequality, dating back to the early 1800s, experienced lower rates of growth centuries after in terms of number of firms created, number of employees hired, firms’ output, value added and profit margin. To increase the understanding as the channels through which historical inequality deterred growth, the article exploits the differences across industries’ intensities in skilled labour, physical capital, dependence on external finance and written contracts across 28 sectors in 57 countries during the 1985–2010 period. It is shown that industries relatively more in need of external finance and contracts experienced lower firm creation growth in countries with higher levels of past inequality. Similarly, industries intensive in skilled labour and physical capital experienced lower rate of growth in the number of employees hired, firms’ output and real value in more unequal countries.

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File URL: http://webspace.qmul.ac.uk/pmartins/CGRWP84.pdf
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Paper provided by Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research in its series Working Papers with number 84.

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Date of creation: Sep 2017
Handle: RePEc:cgs:wpaper:84
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  15. Checchi, Daniele & Ichino, Andrea & Rustichini, Aldo, 1999. "More equal but less mobile?: Education financing and intergenerational mobility in Italy and in the US," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 351-393, December.
  16. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Duflo, Esther, 2003. "Inequality and Growth: What Can the Data Say?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 267-299, September.
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  18. Roland Bénabou, 1996. "Equity and Efficiency in Human Capital Investment: The Local Connection," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 237-264.
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