Inequality in Developing Economies: The Role of Institutional Development
This paper studies the distributive impact of institutional change in developing countries. In such economies, property rights systems may preserve the interests of an influential minority, who can control key-markets, access to assets and investment opportunities, especially if they enjoy disproportionate political power. We test this hypothesis using cross-section and panel data methods on a sample of low- and middle-income economies from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Results suggest that: (a) increasing property rights protection increases income inequality; (b) this effect is larger in low-democracy environments; (c) few countries have developed political institutions capable of counterbalancing this effect.
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