More evidence on income distribution and growth
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.
|Date of creation:||31 Dec 1992|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page: http://www.worldbank.org/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Friedman, Milton, 1992. "Do Old Fallacies Ever Die?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 2129-32, December.
- William Easterly & Michael Kremer & Lant Pritchett & Lawrence H. Summers, 1993.
"Good Policy or Good Luck? Country Growth Performance and Temporary Shocks,"
NBER Working Papers
4474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Danny Quah, 1992.
"Empirical Cross-Section Dynamics in Economic Growth,"
FMG Discussion Papers
dp154, Financial Markets Group.
- Quah, Danny, 1993. "Empirical cross-section dynamics in economic growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 426-434, April.
- Danny Quah, 1992. "Empirical cross-section dynamics in economic growth," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 75, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Easterly, W. & King, R. & Levine, R. & Rebelo, S., 1992.
"How Do National Policies Affect Long-Run Growth? A Research Agenda,"
World Bank - Discussion Papers
164, World Bank.
- Easterly, William & King, Robert & Levine, Ross & Rebelo, Sergio, 1991. "How do national policies affect long-run growth? : a research agenda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 794, The World Bank.
- Levi, Maurice D, 1973. "Errors in the Variables Bias in the Presence of Correctly Measured Variables," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(5), pages 985-86, September.
- Fields, Gary S, 1989. "Changes in Poverty and Inequality in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 4(2), pages 167-85, July.
- Alesina, Alberto & Rodrik, Dani, 1994.
"Distributive Politics and Economic Growth,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-90, May.
- Rodrik, Dani & Alesina, Alberto, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4551798, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Alesina, Alberto F & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 565, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Leamer, Edward E, 1985. "Sensitivity Analyses Would Help," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 308-13, June.
- Barro, Robert J & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992.
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 223-51, April.
- Barro, Robert J. & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Convergence," Scholarly Articles 3451299, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Barro, R.J. & Sala-I-Martin, X., 1991. "Convergence," Papers 645, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
- Barro, R.J. & Sala-I-Martin, X., 1991. "Convergence Across States and Regions," Papers 629, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
- Summers, Robert & Heston, Alan, 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.
- Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1991.
"Is Inequality Harmful for Growth? Theory and Evidence,"
Department of Economics, Working Paper Series
qt00x7n68q, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 1991. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth? Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3599, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1991. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth? Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 581, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Torsten Persson and Guido Tabellini., 1991. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth? Theory and Evidence," Economics Working Papers 91-155, University of California at Berkeley.
- Breusch, T S & Pagan, A R, 1979. "A Simple Test for Heteroscedasticity and Random Coefficient Variation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1287-94, September.
- White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
- 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.
- 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.
- Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1991.
"A sensitivity analysis of cross-country growth regressions,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
609, The World Bank.
- Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-63, September.
- Robert J. Barro, 1989.
"Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries,"
NBER Working Papers
3120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
- Ahluwalia, Montek S., 1976. "Inequality, poverty and development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 307-342, December.
- Ghani, Ejaz, 1992. "How financial markets affect long run growth : a cross country study," Policy Research Working Paper Series 843, The World Bank.
- Koenker, Roger, 1981. "A note on studentizing a test for heteroscedasticity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 107-112, September.
- 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.
- Edward E. Leamer, 1982.
"Let's Take the Con Out of Econometrics,"
UCLA Economics Working Papers
239, UCLA Department of Economics.
- 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.
- Lindert, Peter H. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1985. "Growth, equality, and history," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 341-377, October.
- 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.
- Garber, Steven & Klepper, Steven, 1980. "Extending the Classical Normal Errors-in-Variables Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(6), pages 1541-46, September.
- Koenker, Roger & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1982. "Robust Tests for Heteroscedasticity Based on Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 43-61, January.
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: (Roula I. Yazigi)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.