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One or Many Kuznets Curves? Short and Long Run Effects of the Impact of Skill-Biased Technological Change on Income Inequality

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  • Grimalda, Gianluca

    () (University of Warwick)

  • Vivarelli, Marco

    () (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)

Abstract

We draw on a dynamical two-sector model and on a calibration exercise to study the impact of a skill-biased technological shock on the growth path and income distribution of a developing economy. The model builds on the theoretical framework developed by Silverberg and Verspagen (1995) and on the idea of localised technological change (Atkinson and Stiglitz, 1969) with sector-level increasing returns to scale. We find that a scenario of catching-up to the high-growth steady state is predictable for those economies starting off with a high enough endowment of skilled workforce. During the transition phase, if the skill upgrade process for the workforce is relatively slow, the typical inverse-U Kuznets pattern emerges for income inequality in the long run. Small scale Kuznets curves, driven by sectoral business cycles, may also be detected in the short run. Conversely, economies initially suffering from significant skill shortages remain trapped in a low-growth steady state. Although the long-term trend is one of decreasing inequality, small-scale Kuznets curves may be detected even in this case, which may cause problems of observational equivalence between the two scenarios for the policy-maker. The underlying factors of inequality, and the evolution of a more comprehensive measure of inequality than the one normally used, are also analysed.

Suggested Citation

  • Grimalda, Gianluca & Vivarelli, Marco, 2004. "One or Many Kuznets Curves? Short and Long Run Effects of the Impact of Skill-Biased Technological Change on Income Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 1223, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1223
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. C. Antonelli, 2007. "Localized Technological Change," Chapters,in: Elgar Companion to Neo-Schumpeterian Economics, chapter 16 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    3. Mattias Lundberg & Lyn Squire, 2003. "The simultaneous evolution of growth and inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(487), pages 326-344, April.
    4. Berman, Eli & Machin, Stephen, 2000. "Skill-Based Technology Transfer around the World," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 12-22, Autumn.
    5. Sanjaya Lall, "undated". "The Employment Impact Of Globalisation In Developing Countries," QEH Working Papers qehwps93, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
    6. David Dollar & Aart Kraay, 2004. "Trade, Growth, and Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(493), pages 22-49, February.
    7. Papanek, Gustav F. & Kyn, Oldrich, 1986. "The effect on income distribution of development, the growth rate and economic strategy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 55-65, September.
    8. Atkinson, Anthony B & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1969. "A New View of Technological Change," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 79(315), pages 573-578, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Meschi, Elena & Vivarelli, Marco, 2007. "Globalization and Income Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 2958, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Meschi, Elena & Vivarelli, Marco, 2009. "Trade and Income Inequality in Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 287-302, February.
    3. Saccone Donatella, 2008. "Economic openness, skill demand and skill supply in three archetypes of developing countries: a theoretical and empirical investigation," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 200813, University of Turin.
    4. Natalia Vashchelyuk, 2015. "The Impact of Output Dynamics on Income Inequality in the Russian Regions," Economy of region, Centre for Economic Security, Institute of Economics of Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, vol. 1(4), pages 132-144.
    5. Gianluca Grimalda & Marco Vivarelli, 2010. "Is inequality the price to pay for higher growth in middle-income countries?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 265-306, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    inequality; Kuznets curve; skill-biased technological change; catching-up;

    JEL classification:

    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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