IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wbk/wbrwps/1064.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

More evidence on income distribution and growth

Author

Listed:
  • Clarke, George R. G.

Abstract

Inequality is often regarded as a necessary evil that has to be tolerated to allow growth, says the author. The view that inequality is necessary for the accumulation of wealth, and contains the seeds of eventual increases in everyone's income, is evident in trickle down economic theories, where societal acceptance of inequality allows the rich to earn a greater rate of return on their assets. Others argue that inequality slows growth - because increased inequality causes more conflict over distributional issues, thereby encouraging greater economic intervention and higher taxes. According to the author, the empirical evidence shows that: Inequality is negatively, and robustly, correlated with growth. This result is robust to many different assumptions about the exact form of the cross-country growth regression. Although statistically significant, the magnitude of the relationship between inequality and growth is relatively small. Decreasing inequality from one standard deviation above to one standard deviation below the mean increases the long-term growth rate by about 1.3 percentage points a year. Inequality has a similar effect in democracies and non-democracies. When an interaction term between the type of regime and inequality is included in the base regression, it is insignificant at conventional significance levels. The cross-country data on inequality follows Kuznets'inverted-U shape. Care should be taken in interpreting these results. Although inequality is negatively correlated with growth, this does not necessarily imply that soak-the-rich policies will improve long-term growth. First, theoretical work on inequality and growth stresses thatthis negative correlation is caused by high levels of inequality provoking high levels of government economic intervention. Soak-the-rich policies may be less necessary where there is less inequality. Second, although the partial correlation is robust, the direction of causality has not been determined and the effects of specific income distribution policies have not been tested. Finally, if policies designed to decrease inequality result in greater government consumption and the cost of increased government consumptions outweighs the benefits of greater equality, long-term growth may be harmed. But for certain: inequity is not a prerequisite for growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Clarke, George R. G., 1992. "More evidence on income distribution and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1064, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1064
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/1992/12/01/000009265_3961003191831/Rendered/PDF/multi0page.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-1054, July.
    2. Easterly, William & Kremer, Michael & Pritchett, Lant & Summers, Lawrence H., 1993. "Good policy or good luck?: Country growth performance and temporary shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 459-483, December.
    3. Barro, Robert J & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Convergence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 223-251, April.
      • Barro, R.J. & Sala-I-Martin, X., 1991. "Convergence," Papers 645, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
      • Barro, Robert J. & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Convergence," Scholarly Articles 3451299, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    4. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1991. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth? Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 581, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Quah, Danny, 1993. "Empirical cross-section dynamics in economic growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 426-434, April.
    6. Lindert, Peter H. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1985. "Growth, equality, and history," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 341-377, October.
    7. Leamer, Edward E, 1983. "Let's Take the Con Out of Econometrics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 31-43, March.
    8. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
    9. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    10. Easterly, William*King, Robert*Levine, Ross*Rebe, 1991. "How do national policies affect long-run growth? : a research agenda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 794, The World Bank.
    11. Fields, Gary S, 1989. "Changes in Poverty and Inequality in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 4(2), pages 167-185, July.
    12. Ghani, Ejaz, 1992. "How financial markets affect long run growth : a cross country study," Policy Research Working Paper Series 843, The World Bank.
    13. McAleer, Michael & Pagan, Adrian R & Volker, Paul A, 1985. "What Will Take the Con out of Econometrics?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 293-307, June.
    14. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-963, September.
    15. Friedman, Milton, 1992. "Do Old Fallacies Ever Die?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 2129-2132, December.
    16. Ahluwalia, Montek S., 1976. "Inequality, poverty and development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 307-342, December.
    17. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    18. Koenker, Roger & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1982. "Robust Tests for Heteroscedasticity Based on Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 43-61, January.
    19. Breusch, T S & Pagan, A R, 1979. "A Simple Test for Heteroscedasticity and Random Coefficient Variation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1287-1294, September.
    20. Adelman, Irma & Robinson, Sherman, 1989. "Income distribution and development," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 19, pages 949-1003, Elsevier.
    21. Griliches, Zvi, 1986. "Economic data issues," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 25, pages 1465-1514, Elsevier.
    22. Ram, Rati, 1988. "Economic development and income inequality: Further evidence on the U-curve hypothesis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 16(11), pages 1371-1376, November.
    23. Garber, Steven & Klepper, Steven, 1980. "Extending the Classical Normal Errors-in-Variables Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(6), pages 1541-1546, September.
    24. Leamer, Edward E, 1985. "Sensitivity Analyses Would Help," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 308-313, June.
    25. Papanek, Gustav F. & Kyn, Oldrich, 1986. "The effect on income distribution of development, the growth rate and economic strategy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 55-65, September.
    26. Koenker, Roger, 1981. "A note on studentizing a test for heteroscedasticity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 107-112, September.
    27. Robert Summers & Alan Heston, 1988. "A New Set Of International Comparisons Of Real Product And Price Levels Estimates For 130 Countries, 1950–1985," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(1), pages 1-25, March.
    28. Levi, Maurice D, 1973. "Errors in the Variables Bias in the Presence of Correctly Measured Variables," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(5), pages 985-986, September.
    29. Barro, Robert J & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Convergence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 223-251, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Durlauf, Steven N. & Quah, Danny T., 1999. "The new empirics of economic growth," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 235-308, Elsevier.
    2. Evans, Paul, 1996. "Using cross-country variances to evaluate growth theories," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 20(6-7), pages 1027-1049.
    3. Fischer, Manfred M. & Stirböck, Claudia, 2005. "Regional Income Convergence in Europe, 1995-2000: A Spatial Econometric Perspective," MPRA Paper 77784, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Cardenas, Mauricio & Ponton, Adriana, 1995. "Growth and convergence in Colombia: 1950-1990," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 5-37, June.
    5. Adrian C. Darnell, 1994. "A Dictionary Of Econometrics," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 118.
    6. Ben-David, Dan, 1996. "Trade and convergence among countries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-4), pages 279-298, May.
    7. Kanbur, Ravi, 2000. "Income distribution and development," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 13, pages 791-841, Elsevier.
    8. Zsolt Becsi, 1996. "Do state and local taxes affect relative state growth?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, vol. 81(Mar), pages 18-36.
    9. Harris Dellas & Kevin Hoover, 2003. "Truth and Robustness in Cross-country Growth Regressions," Working Papers 11, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    10. Steven N. Durlauf & Andros Kourtellos & Chih Ming Tan, 2008. "Empirics of Growth and Development," Chapters, in: Amitava Krishna Dutt & Jaime Ros (ed.), International Handbook of Development Economics, Volumes 1 & 2, volume 0, chapter 3, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    11. Guilhem Bascle, 2008. "Controlling for endogeneity with instrumental variables in strategic management research," Post-Print hal-00576795, HAL.
    12. Ana Lamo, 2000. "On convergence empirics: same evidence for Spanish regions," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 24(3), pages 681-707, September.
    13. Paul Johnson & Chris Papageorgiou, 2020. "What Remains of Cross-Country Convergence?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 58(1), pages 129-175, March.
    14. Julie Le Gallo, 2004. "Space-Time Analysis of GDP Disparities among European Regions: A Markov Chains Approach," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 27(2), pages 138-163, April.
    15. Capolupo, Rosa, 2009. "The New Growth Theories and Their Empirics after Twenty Years," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 3, pages 1-72.
    16. Bernard, Andrew B. & Durlauf, Steven N., 1996. "Interpreting tests of the convergence hypothesis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1-2), pages 161-173.
    17. Chhavi Tiwari & Sankalpa Bhattacharjee & Debkumar Chakrabarti, 2020. "Investigating Regional Inequalities in India: Are Indian Districts Converging?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(5), pages 684-716, July.
    18. Hongyi Li & Danyang Xie & Heng‐Fu Zou, 2000. "Dynamics of income distribution," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 33(4), pages 937-961, November.
    19. Evans, Paul & Karras, Georgios, 1996. "Convergence revisited," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 249-265, April.
    20. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1991. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth? Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 581, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality; Governance Indicators; Poverty Impact Evaluation; Achieving Shared Growth; Economic Theory&Research;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1064. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/dvewbus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Roula I. Yazigi (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/dvewbus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.