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Economic Growth and Inequality: The Role of Fiscal Policies

Author

Listed:
  • Leonel Muinelo

    () (Departament d'Economia Aplicada, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)

  • Oriol Roca-Sagalés

    () (Departament d'Economia Aplicada, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)

Abstract

This paper analyses the impact of different instruments of fiscal policy on economic growth as well as on income inequality, using an unbalanced panel of 43 upper-middle and high income countries for the period 1972-2006. We consider and estimate two individual equations explaining growth and inequality in order to assess the incidence of different fiscal policies. Firstly, our approach considers imposing orthogonal assumptions between growth and inequality in both equations, and secondly, it allows growth to be included in the inequality equation, and inequality to be included in the growth equation. The empirical results suggest that an increase in the size of government measured through current expenditures and direct taxes diminishes economic growth while reducing inequality, being public investment the only fiscal policy that may break this trade-off between efficiency and equity, since increases in this item reduces inequality without harming output. Therefore, the results reflect that the trade-off between efficiency and equity that governments often confront when designing their fiscal policies may be avoided.

Suggested Citation

  • Leonel Muinelo & Oriol Roca-Sagalés, 2011. "Economic Growth and Inequality: The Role of Fiscal Policies," Working Papers wpdea1105, Department of Applied Economics at Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona.
  • Handle: RePEc:uab:wprdea:wpdea1105
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gemmell Norman & Au Joey, 2013. "Do Smaller Governments Raise the Level or Growth of Output? A Review of Recent Evidence," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 64(2), pages 85-116, August.
    2. Kaushik, Arun & Rupayan Pal, 2012. "Political strongholds and budget allocation for developmental expenditure: Evidence from Indian states, 1971-2005," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2012-015, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    3. Serhan Cevik & Carolina Correa-Caro, 2015. "Growing (Un)equal; Fiscal Policy and Income Inequality in China and BRIC+," IMF Working Papers 15/68, International Monetary Fund.
    4. repec:pal:imfecr:v:65:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1057_s41308-016-0021-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Karen Davtyan, 2016. "Interrelation among Economic Growth, Income Inequality, and Fiscal Performance: Evidence from Anglo-Saxon Countries," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, pages 37-66.
    6. Michał Brzoza-Brzezina & Jacek Kotłowski, 2014. "Measuring the natural yield curve," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(17), pages 2052-2065, June.
    7. Simone Salotti & Carmine Trecroci, 2016. "The Impact of Government Debt, Expenditure and Taxes on Aggregate Investment and Productivity Growth," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 83(330), pages 356-384, April.
    8. Yang, Yiwen & Greaney, Theresa M., 2017. "Economic growth and income inequality in the Asia-Pacific region: A comparative study of China, Japan, South Korea, and the United States," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, pages 6-22.
    9. Sanz Labrador, Ismael & Sanz-Sanz, José Félix, 2013. "Política fiscal y crecimiento económico: consideraciones microeconómicas y relaciones macroeconómicas," Macroeconomía del Desarrollo 134, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    10. Philip Arestis, 2013. "Economic theory and policy: a coherent post-Keynesian approach," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 10(2), pages 243-255.
    11. Heshmati, Almas & Kim, Jungsuk, 2014. "A Survey of the Role of Fiscal Policy in Addressing Income Inequality, Poverty Reduction and Inclusive Growth," IZA Discussion Papers 8119, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Gemmell, Norman & Au, Joey, 2012. "Government Size, Fiscal Policy and the Level and Growth of Output: A Review of Recent Evidence," Working Paper Series 2603, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.
    13. Leonel Muinelo-Gallo & Oriol Roca-Sagalés, 2017. "Long-term effects of fiscal policy in Uruguay," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 17-02, Instituto de Economía - IECON.
    14. Martner Fanta, Ricardo & Gonzales, Ivonne & Podestá, Andrea, 2013. "Políticas fiscales para el crecimiento y la igualdad," Macroeconomía del Desarrollo 138, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    15. Cagri S. Kumru & John Piggott, 2017. "Optimal Capital Income Taxation with Means-tested Benefits," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, pages 227-262.
    16. Muinelo-Gallo, Leonel & Roca-Sagalés, Oriol, 2013. "Joint determinants of fiscal policy, income inequality and economic growth," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, pages 814-824.
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    19. Yongzheng Liu & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2010. "The Growth-Inequality Tradeo in the Design of Tax Structure: Evidence from a Large Panel of Countries," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1320, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal policy; inequality; growth; panel data models;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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