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Income Inequality and Colonialism

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This paper proposes that Colonialism is a major explanation behind today’s differences in Income Inequality among countries. We argue that colonies that received an important number of European settlers were characterized by a concentration of economic and political power in the hands of these last ones. Moreover, European settlers later achieved independence from the metropolis and were able to prolong the status quo. Colonies where Europeans were much less present did not develop such strong inequality. The empirical evidence we provide strongly supports our thesis.

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Paper provided by Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester in its series Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series with number 66.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:man:cgbcrp:66
Contact details of provider: Postal: Manchester M13 9PL
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  1. Matthew Higgins & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 1999. "Explaining Inequality the World Round: Cohort Size, Kuznets Curves, andOpenness," NBER Working Papers 7224, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  3. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-98, April.
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  5. George Clarke & Lixin Colin Xu & Heng-fu Zou, 2013. "Finance and Income Inequality: Test of Alternative Theories," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 14(2), pages 493-510, November.
  6. Stanley L. Engerman & Kenneth Lee Sokoloff, 2002. "Factor Endowments, Inequality, and Paths of Development among New World Economies," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, August.
  7. Graziella Bertocchi & Fabio Canova, 1996. "Did colonization matter for growth? An empirical exploration into the historical causes of Africa's underdevelopment," Economics Working Papers 202, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  8. Bourguignon, F. & Verdier, T., 1997. "Oligarchy, Democracy, Inequality and Growth," DELTA Working Papers 97-10, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  9. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
  10. Rodrik, Dani & Alesina, Alberto, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4551798, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. François Bourguignon & Christian Morrisson, 2002. "Inequality Among World Citizens: 1820-1992," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 727-744, September.
  12. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294.
  14. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1998. "New ways of looking at old issues: inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 259-287.
  15. Ahluwalia, Montek S., 1976. "Inequality, poverty and development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 307-342, December.
  16. Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Ross Levine, 2000. "A New Database on the Structure and Development of the Financial Sector," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(3), pages 597-605, September.
  17. Deininger, K & Squire, L, 1996. "Measuring Income Inequality : A New Data-Base," Papers 537, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  18. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1993. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth," Papers 537, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  19. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Heng-fu Zou, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 73, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  20. Grier, Robin M, 1999. " Colonial Legacies and Economic Growth," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 317-35, March.
  21. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
  22. Anand, Sudhir & Kanbur, S. M. R., 1993. "The Kuznets process and the inequality--development relationship," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 25-52, February.
  23. Anand, Sudhir & Kanbur, S. M. R., 1993. "Inequality and development A critique," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 19-43, June.
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