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Political rivalry effects on human capital accumulation and inequality: a New Political Economy approach


  • Elena Sochirca

    () (FEP)

  • Oscar Afonso

    () (FEP)

  • Sandra Silva

    () (FEP)


Abstract We propose an endogenous growth model with elements of new political economy in order to study the effects of political institutions and political rivalry on human capital accumulation and income inequality. Relating to the increasing literature on the relationship between income redistribution, inequality and growth, and on the political economy of growth, our model shows that (i) non-distortionary redistribution via public education equalizes income levels and increases human capital accumulation; (ii) political rivalry produces negative outcomes in all dimensions of the considered economic interactions. In particular, we find that occurring episodes of political rivalry reduce human capital accumulation through their negative impact on public investments in education, workers' wages and individual learning choice, and increase income inequality. As regards the role of political institutions, our analysis suggests that the elasticities of human capital accumulation with respect to public and private investments have crucial implications for public policies and require particular attention to the political rivalry effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Elena Sochirca & Oscar Afonso & Sandra Silva, 2012. "Political rivalry effects on human capital accumulation and inequality: a New Political Economy approach," FEP Working Papers 466, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  • Handle: RePEc:por:fepwps:466

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pedro Carneiro & Costas Meghir & Matthias Parey, 2013. "Maternal Education, Home Environments, And The Development Of Children And Adolescents," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11, pages 123-160, January.
    2. 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.
    3. Easterly, William, 2007. "Inequality does cause underdevelopment: Insights from a new instrument," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 755-776, November.
    4. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B., 2003. "Public education and income inequality," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 289-300, June.
    5. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1992. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-40, February.
    6. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2005. "Educational Reform, Ability, and Family Background," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 414-424, March.
    7. Perotti, Roberto, 1992. "Income Distribution, Politics, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 311-316, May.
    8. Paul, Gilles Saint & Verdier, Thierry, 1996. "Inequality, redistribution and growth: A challenge to the conventional political economy approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 719-728, April.
    9. Sayer, Stuart, 2000. " Issues in New Political Economy: An Overview," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(5), pages 513-526, December.
    10. Avinash Dixit & Gene M. Grossman & Faruk Gul, 2000. "The Dynamics of Political Compromise," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 531-568, June.
    11. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Abel L. Costa Fernandes & Paulo R. Mota, 2012. "Triffin’s Dilemma Again and the Efficient Level of U.S. Government Debt," FEP Working Papers 469, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    2. Elena Sochirca & Óscar Afonso & Sandra Silva, 2013. "Effects of political rivalry on public educational investments and income inequality: evidence from empirical data," CEF.UP Working Papers 1304, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    3. Elena Sochirca & Francisco José Veiga, 2017. "Measuring political rivalry and estimating its effect on economic growth," NIPE Working Papers 04/2017, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
    4. Sochirca, Elena & Afonso, Óscar & Silva, Sandra Tavares & Neves, Pedro Cunha, 2016. "Effects of political rivalry on public investments in education and income inequality," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 372-396.

    More about this item


    political rivalry; institutions; human capital accumulation; public education; inequality; efficient redistribution; economic growth.;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity

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