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Inequality of opportunity and growth

Author

Listed:
  • Gustavo A. Marrero

    (Universidad de La Laguna)

  • Juan G. Rodríguez

    (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos)

Abstract

Theoretical and empirical studies exploring the effects of income inequality upon growth reach a disappointing inconclusive result. This paper postulates that one reason for this ambiguity is that income inequality is actually a composite measure of at least two different sorts of inequality: inequality of opportunity and inequality of returns to effort. These two types of inequality affect growth through opposite channels, so the relationship between income inequality and growth is positive or negative depending on which component is larger. We test this proposal using inequality-of-opportunity measures computed from the PSID database for 23 states of the U.S. in 1980 and 1990. We find robust support for a negative relationship between inequality of opportunity and growth, and a positive relationship between inequality of returns to effort and growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Gustavo A. Marrero & Juan G. Rodríguez, 2010. "Inequality of opportunity and growth," Working Papers 154, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  • Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2010-154
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    Keywords

    income inequality; inequality of opportunity; economic growth.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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