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Growth, Income Inequality, and Fiscal Policy: What are the Relevant Tradeoffs?

  • Cecilia Garcia-Penalosa
  • Stephen Turnovsky

We develop an endogenous growth model with elastic labor supply, in which agents differ in their initial endowments of physical capital. In this context, the growth rate and the distribution of income are jointly determined. We then examine the distributional impact of different ways of financing an investment subsidy. Policies aimed at increasing the growth rate result in a more unequal distribution of pre-tax income, consistent with the positive correlation between income inequality and growth observed in the recent empirical literature. However, there is no conflict between efficiency and equity if inequality is measured in terms of the distribution of welfare. Copyright 2007 The Ohio State University.

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Paper provided by University of Washington, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number UWEC-2006-27-P.

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Publication status: Published in Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking, Volume 39, 2007, 369-394
Handle: RePEc:udb:wpaper:uwec-2006-27-p
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  1. Garcia-Penalosa, Cecilia & Aghion, Philippe & Caroli, Eve, 1999. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/10091, Paris Dauphine University.
  2. MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Setting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1059-85, December.
  3. Alberto Alesina & Edward Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2005. "Work and Leisure in the U. S. and Europe: Why so Different?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2068, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Roland Benabou, 1999. "Tax and Education Policy in a Heterogeneous Agent Economy: What Levels of Redistribution Maximize Growth and Efficiency?," NBER Working Papers 7132, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Yann Algan & Arnaud Cheron & Jean-Olivier Hairault & Francois Langot, 2003. "Wealth Effect on Labor Market Transitions," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(1), pages 156-178, January.
  6. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & David Joulfaian & Harvey S. Rosen, 1992. "The Carnegie Conjecture: Some Empirical Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Edward N. Wolff, 1998. "Recent Trends in the Size Distribution of Household Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 131-150, Summer.
  8. Caselli, G & Ventura, J, 1996. "A Representative Consumer Theory of Distribution," Papers 534, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  9. 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.
  10. Cecilia Garcia-Penalosa & Stephen Turnovsky, 2005. "Growth and Income Inequality: A Canonical Model," Working Papers UWEC-2006-04-P, University of Washington, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2005.
  11. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
  12. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
  13. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1993. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth," Papers 537, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  14. Bond, Eric W. & Wang, Ping & Yip, Chong K., 1996. "A General Two-Sector Model of Endogenous Growth with Human and Physical Capital: Balanced Growth and Transitional Dynamics," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 149-173, January.
  15. Giuseppe Bertola, 1991. "Factor Shares and Savings in Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 3851, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Theo S Eicher & Cecilia Garcia Penalosa, . "Inequality and Growth," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 0083, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  18. Anthony C. Atkinson, 2003. "Income Inequality in OECD Countries: Data and Explanations," CESifo Working Paper Series 881, CESifo Group Munich.
  19. Cardia, Emanuela & Kozhaya, Norma & Ruge-Murcia, Francisco J, 2003. " Distortionary Taxation and Labor Supply," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(3), pages 350-73, June.
  20. Mattias Lundberg & Lyn Squire, 2003. "The simultaneous evolution of growth and inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(487), pages 326-344, 04.
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