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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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    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal policy; inequality; growth; panel data models;
    All these keywords.

    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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