Economic Growth and Inequality: Evidence from the Young Democracies of South America
We investigate in this paper whether income growth has played any role on inequality in all nine young South American democracies during the period 1970-2007. The results, based on dynamic panel time-series analysis, robustly suggest that income growth has indeed played a progressive role in reducing inequality during the period. Moreover, the results suggest that this negative relationship is even stronger in the 1990s and early 2000s, a period in which the continent achieved macroeconomic stabilisation, political consolidation and much improved economic performance. On the contrary, during the 1980s (the so-called "lost decade"), the negative income growth experienced by the continent at the time has hit the poor the hardest, or alternatively speaking, it has played a regressive role on inequality. All in all, we suggest that consistent growth, and all that it encompasses, is an important equaliser which should not be discarded as a serious option by policy makers interested in a more equal income distribution.
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