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Inequality, Human Capital and Development: Making the Theory Face the Facts

  • Papageorgiou, Chris
  • Razak, Nor Azam Abdul

Recent theoretical contributions assert that income inequality impacts negatively human capital accumulation, and consequently long-run growth. Galor and Zeira (1993) show that such a relationship works primarily through financial constraints, while de la Croix and Doepke (2003) demonstrate that the relationship could also work via differential fertility between poor and rich. In this paper, we first test the inequality-human capital-output hypothesis in a sample of 46 countries for the period 1970—2000. In the baseline estimation specification and various robustness checks, we obtain results that lend strong support to this relationship. Second, we examine which of the two mechanisms, finds more support in the data. and show evidence in favor of the differential fertility mechanism.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 18973.

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Date of creation: 30 Nov 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:18973
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  1. Alesina, Alberto F & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 565, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. 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.
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  4. Hongyi Li & Heng-fu Zou, 1998. "Income Inequality Is Not Harmful for Growth: Theory and Evidence," CEMA Working Papers 74, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  5. Moav, Omer, 2001. "Cheap Children and the Persistence of Poverty," CEPR Discussion Papers 3059, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Amparo Castello-Climent & Rafael Domenech, 2006. "Human Capital Inequality, Life Expectancy and Economic Growth," Working Papers 0604, International Economics Institute, University of Valencia.
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  8. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52, January.
  9. Durlauf, Steven N. & Johnson, Paul A. & Temple, Jonathan R.W., 2005. "Growth Econometrics," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 555-677 Elsevier.
  10. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2000. "International Data on Educational Attainment Updates and Implications," NBER Working Papers 7911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Chris Papageorgiou & Fidel Pérez Sebastián & John Duffy, 2002. "Capital-Skill Complementarity? Evidence From A Panel Of Countries," Working Papers. Serie AD 2002-09, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  12. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2006. "The World Technology Frontier," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 499-522, June.
  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. Amparo Castelló-Climent, 2004. "A Reassessment Of The Relationship Between Inequality And Growth: What Human Capital Inequality Data Say?," Working Papers. Serie EC 2004-15, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  15. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  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.
  17. Amparo Castello & Rafael Domenech, 2002. "Human Capital Inequality and Economic Growth: Some New Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C187-C200, March.
  18. Sylwester, Kevin, 2000. "Income inequality, education expenditures, and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 379-398, December.
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