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Inequality

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  • Edward L. Glaeser

Abstract

This paper reviews five striking facts about inequality across countries. As Kuznets (1955) famously first documented, inequality first rises and then falls with income. More unequal societies are much less likely to have democracies or governments that respect property rights. Unequal societies have less redistribution, and we have little idea whether this relationship is caused by redistribution reducing inequality or inequality reducing redistribution. Inequality and ethnic heterogeneity are highly correlated, either because of differences in educational heritages across ethnicities or because ethnic heterogeneity reduces redistribution. Finally, there is much more inequality and less redistribution in the U. S. than in most other developed nations.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "Inequality," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2078, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:2078
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    File URL: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/pub/hier/2005/HIER2078.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Jacob L. Vigdor, 2006. "Fifty Million Voters Can't Be Wrong: Economic Self-Interest and Redistributive Politics," NBER Working Papers 12371, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Dwayne Benjamin & Loren Brandt & John Giles, 2006. "Inequality and Growth in Rural China: Does Higher Inequality Impede Growth?," Working Papers tecipa-237, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    3. Juan Carlos Cordoba & Genevieve Verdier, 2005. "Lucas vs. Lucas: On Inequality and Growth," Macroeconomics 0511021, EconWPA.

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