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The Inequality-Growth Plateau

Author

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  • Henderson, Daniel J.

    () (University of Alabama)

  • Qian, Junhui

    () (Shanghai Jiao Tong University)

  • Wang, Le

    () (University of Oklahoma)

Abstract

We examine the (potentially nonlinear) relationship between inequality and growth using a method which does not require an a priori assumption on the underlying functional form. This approach reveals a plateau completely missed by commonly used (nonlinear) parametric approaches - the economy first expands rapidly with a large decline in inequality, plateaus when inequality remains relatively stable, and then decreases rapidly with a large increase in inequality. This novel finding helps reconcile the conflicting results in the literature (using different parametric assumptions and datasets) and has important policy implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Henderson, Daniel J. & Qian, Junhui & Wang, Le, 2015. "The Inequality-Growth Plateau," IZA Discussion Papers 8771, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8771
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2004. "From Physical to Human Capital Accumulation: Inequality and the Process of Development," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 1001-1026.
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    3. Sukiassyan, Grigor, 2007. "Inequality and growth: What does the transition economy data say?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 35-56, March.
    4. Michael S. Delgado & Daniel J. Henderson & Christopher F. Parmeter, 2014. "Does Education Matter for Economic Growth?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 76(3), pages 334-359, June.
    5. Raghuram G. Rajan & Arvind Subramanian, 2008. "Aid and Growth: What Does the Cross-Country Evidence Really Show?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 643-665, November.
    6. Battisti, Michele & Di Vaio, Gianfranco & Zeira, Joseph, 2013. "Global Divergence in Growth Regressions," CEPR Discussion Papers 9687, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Hsiao, Cheng & Li, Qi & Racine, Jeffrey S., 2007. "A consistent model specification test with mixed discrete and continuous data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(2), pages 802-826, October.
    8. Qian, Junhui & Wang, Le, 2012. "Estimating semiparametric panel data models by marginal integration," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 167(2), pages 483-493.
    9. Daniel J. Henderson & Chris Papageorgiou & Christopher F. Parmeter, 2012. "Growth Empirics without Parameters," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(559), pages 125-154, March.
    10. Amparo Castelló-Climent, 2010. "Inequality and growth in advanced economies: an empirical investigation," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 8(3), pages 293-321, September.
    11. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Duflo, Esther, 2003. "Inequality and Growth: What Can the Data Say?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 267-299, September.
    12. Henderson, Daniel J. & Carroll, Raymond J. & Li, Qi, 2008. "Nonparametric estimation and testing of fixed effects panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 257-275, May.
    13. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
    14. Barro, Robert J, 2000. "Inequality and Growth in a Panel of Countries," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 5-32, March.
    15. Samuel Bazzi & Michael A. Clemens, 2013. "Blunt Instruments: Avoiding Common Pitfalls in Identifying the Causes of Economic Growth," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 152-186, April.
    16. Kristin J. Forbes, 2000. "A Reassessment of the Relationship between Inequality and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 869-887, September.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Can inequality affect growth?
      by nawmsayn in ZeeConomics on 2015-03-02 00:01:52

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    Cited by:

    1. Kirill Borissov & Mikhail Pakhnin, 2018. "Economic growth and property rights on natural resources," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 65(2), pages 423-482, March.
    2. Adnen Ben Nasr & Mehmet Balcilar & Rangan Gupta & Seyi Saint Akadiri, 2018. "Asymmetric Effects of Inequality on Per Capita Real GDP of the United States," Working Papers 201820, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    3. Adnen Ben Nasr & Mehmet Balcilar & Seyi Saint Akadiri & Rangan Gupta, 2017. "Kuznets Curve for the US: A Reconsideration Using Cosummability," Working Papers 201763, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    4. Aissaoui, Najeh & Ben Hassen, Lobna, 2015. "Skill-biased Technological Change, E-skills and Wage Inequality: Evidence from Tunisia," MPRA Paper 76551, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 29 Jun 2015.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    panel data; growth; inequality; semiparametric;

    JEL classification:

    • C5 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling
    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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