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Inequality and Growth Revisited

  • Figini, P

In recent years, a vast literature on the links between inequality and growth has flourished. The emerging consensus is that equality enhances growth, but disagreement exists on the underlying mechanisms. In this paper, we aim to provide the reader with new empirical evidence from a cross sectional analysis of countries. First, we try to improve upon the accuracy of previous empirical models by using new data on inequality extracted from Deininger and Squire (1996). Second, we test alternative specifications of the relationship between growth, redistribution and inequality. Third, we test the relevance of the theoretical models proposed in the literature to explain the inequality-growth relationship. Results suggest that first, the link between inequality and growth is robust to measurement errors in inequality. Second, the fertility-education issue is the main explanatory factor of the link. Third, we find a non-linear relationship between inequality, redistribution and growth, which tends to confirm Bénabou's model (1996). However, there is also evidence to support an alternative explanation, in which there is reverse causality between redistribution and inequality: accordingly, countries would be considered unequal because of their weak redistributive policies.

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File URL: http://www.tcd.ie/Economics/TEP/1999_papers/TEPNo2PF99.pdf
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Paper provided by Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics in its series Trinity Economics Papers with number 992.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:tcd:tcduee:992
Contact details of provider: Postal: Trinity College, Dublin 2
Phone: (+ 353 1) 6081325
Fax: 6772503
Web page: http://www.tcd.ie/Economics/

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  1. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1999. "A Data Set on Income Distribution," CEMA Working Papers 575, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  2. Guido Enrico Tabellini & Torsten Persson, 1991. "Growth, Distribution and Politics," IMF Working Papers 91/78, International Monetary Fund.
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  10. Perotti, Roberto, 1994. "Income distribution and investment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 827-835, April.
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  13. 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.
  14. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
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  20. Paolo Figini, 1998. "Inequality Measures, Equivalence Scales and Adjustment for Household Size and Composition," Economics Technical Papers 988, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  21. Li, Hongyi & Squire, Lyn & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 26-43, January.
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  24. Markus Knell, . "Social Comparisons, Inequality, and Growth," IEW - Working Papers 005, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  25. Alesina, Alberto F & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 565, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  26. Paolo Figini, 1998. "Measuring Inequality: On the Correlation of Indices," Economics Technical Papers 987, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  27. Coulter, Fiona A E & Cowell, Frank A & Jenkins, Stephen P, 1992. "Equivalence Scale Relativities and the Extent of Inequality and Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(414), pages 1067-82, September.
  28. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1997. "A Theory of Trickle-Down Growth and Development," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(2), pages 151-72, April.
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  30. 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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