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Inequality in Developing Economies: The Role of Institutional Development

  • AMENDOLA, Adalgiso

    ()

    (CELPE (Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy), University of Salerno, Italy)

  • EASAW, Joshy

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Bath)

  • SAVOIA, Antonio

    ()

    (University of Exeter Business School)

This paper studies the distributive impact of institutional change in developing countries. In such economies, economic institutions, such as property rights systems, may act to preserve the interests of an influential minority, but this depends crucially on the level of political equality. For example, dominant classes can control key-markets, access to assets and investment opportunities, especially if they enjoy disproportionate political power. We test this hypothesis using cross-section and panel data methods on a sample of low- and middle-income economies from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Results suggest that: (a) increasing the protection of property rights increases income inequality; (b) such an effect is larger in low-democracy environments; (c) a minority of countries have developed a set political institutions capable of counterbalancing this effect.

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Paper provided by CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy in its series CELPE Discussion Papers with number 116.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sal:celpdp:0116
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  1. 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.
  2. Adalgiso Amendola & Joshy Easaw & Antonio Savoia, 2011. "Inequality in Developing Economies: The Role of Institutional Development," Discussion Papers 1107, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
  3. Henry Tam, 2008. "An economic or political Kuznets curve?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 134(3), pages 367-389, March.
  4. Alberto Chong & Mark Gradstein & Cecilia Calderon, 2009. "Can foreign aid reduce income inequality and poverty?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 140(1), pages 59-84, July.
  5. José Cheibub & Jennifer Gandhi & James Vreeland, 2010. "Democracy and dictatorship revisited," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 143(1), pages 67-101, April.
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  9. Easterly, William, 2007. "Inequality does cause underdevelopment: Insights from a new instrument," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 755-776, November.
  10. Berggren, Niclas, 1999. "Economic Freedom and Equality: Friends or Foes?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 100(3-4), pages 203-23, September.
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  12. Mark Gradstein & Branko Milanovic, 2004. "Does Libertè = Egalité? A Survey of the Empirical Links between Democracy and Inequality with Some Evidence on the Transition Economies," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(4), pages 515-537, 09.
  13. Keefer, Philip & Knack, Stephen, 2000. "Polarization, politics, and property rights : links between inequality and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2418, The World Bank.
  14. Chong, Alberto & Calderon, Cesar, 2000. "Institutional Quality and Income Distribution," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(4), pages 761-86, July.
  15. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A, 2002. "The Political Economy of the Kuznets Curve," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(2), pages 183-203, June.
  16. Maurice J.G. Bun & Jan F. Kiviet, 2002. "On the Diminishing Returns of Higher-order Terms in Asymptotic Expansions of Bias," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-099/4, Tinbergen Institute, revised 24 Oct 2002.
  17. Ann-Sofie Isaksson, 2011. "Social divisions and institutions: assessing institutional parameter variation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 147(3), pages 331-357, June.
  18. World Bank, 2007. "World Development Indicators 2007," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 8150, April.
  19. Emilie Daudey & Cecilia Garcia-Penalosa, 2007. "The personal and the factor distributions of income in a cross-section of countries," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(5), pages 812-829.
  20. Anderson, T. W. & Hsiao, Cheng, 1982. "Formulation and estimation of dynamic models using panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 47-82, January.
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