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Growing into and out of Social Conflict

  • Philipp Harms

    ()

    (University of Konstanz, Studienzentrum Gerzensee)

  • Stefan Zink

    ()

    (University of Konstanz)

We present a model of growth and distributional conflict that implies a non-monotonic relationship between average wealth and the likelihood of radical redistribution; while the net benefits of redistribution for members of the poor class are small at low stages of development, a shift towards egalitarianism considerably improves agents' income prospects once an intermediate level of per-capita wealth is reached. As the economy grows further, the incentive to challange the existing social order decreases again and eventually vanishes. This nonmonotonicity captures the observation that historical shifts to radically redistributive policies frequently took place after extended periods of economic growth.

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Paper provided by Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee in its series Working Papers with number 02.06.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:szg:worpap:0206
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  1. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
  2. Olson, Mancur, 1963. "Rapid Growth as a Destabilizing Force," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(04), pages 529-552, December.
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  4. E. Somanathan, 2002. "Can Growth Ease Class Conflict?," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 65-81.
  5. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Why Did The West Extend The Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, And Growth In Historical Perspective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1167-1199, November.
  6. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 2000. "Endogenous Inequality," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(4), pages 743-59, October.
  8. Maoz, Yishay D & Moav, Omer, 1999. "Intergenerational Mobility and the Process of Development," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(458), pages 677-97, October.
  9. Philip R. Lane & Aaron Tornell, 1999. "The Voracity Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 22-46, March.
  10. Perotti, Roberto, 1993. "Political Equilibrium, Income Distribution, and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(4), pages 755-76, October.
  11. Grossman, Herschel I, 1994. "Production, Appropriation, and Land Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 705-12, June.
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