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Financial Development and Inequality: Brazil 1985-99

Listed author(s):
  • Manoel F. Meyer Bittencourt

We examine the impact that financial development had on earnings inequality in Brazil in the 1980’s and 90’s. The empirical evidence, based on panel time series and time series data, shows that more broad access to financial and credit markets had a significant and robust effect in reducing inequality during the period investigated. We suggest that this is not only because the poor can invest the acquired credit in all sorts of productive activities, but also because those with access to financial markets can insulate themselves against recurrent poor macroeconomic performance, which is exemplified by extreme inflation rates. The main implication of the results is that a seemingly non-distortionary policy, such as more credit aimed at the poor, alleviates the high inequality present in Brazil and consequently improves welfare without distorting economic efficiency.

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File URL: http://degit.sam.sdu.dk/papers/degit_11/C011_055.pdf
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Paper provided by DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade in its series DEGIT Conference Papers with number c011_055.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2006
Handle: RePEc:deg:conpap:c011_055
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  1. Patrick Honohan, 2004. "Financial development, growth, and poverty: how close are the links?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3203, The World Bank.
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  5. Greenwood, Jeremy & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1990. "Financial Development, Growth, and the Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 1076-1107, October.
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  12. Manoel F. Meyer Bittencourt, 2005. "Macroeconomic Performance and Inequality: Brazil 1983-94," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 130, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
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  18. George Clarke & Lixin Colin Xu & Heng-fu Zou, 2003. "Finance and Income Inequality: Test of Alternative Theories," CEMA Working Papers 493, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  19. Philippe Aghion & Patrick Bolton, 1997. "A Theory of Trickle-Down Growth and Development," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 151-172.
  20. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Heng-fu Zou, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 73, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  21. Thomas Piketty, 1997. "The Dynamics of the Wealth Distribution and the Interest Rate with Credit Rationing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 173-189.
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  23. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1992. "Distribution and growth in models of imperfect capital markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(2-3), pages 603-611, April.
  24. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2003. "Halving Global Poverty," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
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