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Finance and income inequality : test of alternative theories

  • Clarke, George
  • Xu, Lixin Colin
  • Zou, Heng-fu

Although theoretical models make distinct predictions about the relationship between financial sector development and income inequality, little empirical research has been conducted to compare their relative explanatory power. The authors examine the relation between financial intermediary development and income inequality in a panel data set of 91 countries for the period 1960-95. Their results provide evidence that inequality decreases as economies develop their financial intermediaries, consistent with the theoretical models in Galor and Zeira (1993) and Banerjee and Newman (1993). Moreover, consistent with the insight of Kuznets, the relation between the Gini coefficient and financial intermediary development appears to depend on the sectoral structure of the economy: a larger modern sector is associated with a smaller drop in the Gini coefficient for the same level of financial intermediary development. But there is no evidence of an inverted-U-shaped relation between financial sector development and income inequality, as suggested by Greenwood and Jovanovic (1990). The results are robust to controlling for biases introduced by simultaneity.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2984.

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Date of creation: 31 Mar 2003
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2984
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  1. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-98, April.
  2. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1998. "Law and Finance," Scholarly Articles 3451310, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52, January.
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  5. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, . "Legal Determinants of External Finance," Working Paper 19443, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  6. Levine, Ross & Loayza, Norman & Beck, Thorsten, 2000. "Financial intermediation and growth: Causality and causes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 31-77, August.
  7. Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William & Alesina, Alberto, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," Scholarly Articles 4551797, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1999. "A Data Set on Income Distribution," CEMA Working Papers 575, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  9. Ross Levine, 1997. "Financial Development and Economic Growth: Views and Agenda," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 688-726, June.
  10. Mattias Lundberg & Lyn Squire, 2003. "The simultaneous evolution of growth and inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(487), pages 326-344, 04.
  11. Greenwood, J. & Jovanovic, B., 1988. "Financial Development, Growth, And The Distribution Of Income," RCER Working Papers 131, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  12. Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Ross Levine, 2001. "Legal Theories of Financial Development," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(4), pages 483-501.
  13. Levine, Ross, 1999. "Law, Finance, and Economic Growth," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 8(1-2), pages 8-35, January.
  14. Hongyi Li & Lixin Colin Xu & Heng-fu Zou, 2000. "Corruption, Income Distribution, and Growth," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(2), pages 155-182, 07.
  15. Zvi Griliches & Jerry A. Hausman, 1984. "Errors in Variables in Panel Data," NBER Technical Working Papers 0037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Beck, Thorsten & Levine, Ross & Loayza, Norman, 1999. "Finance and the sources of growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2057, The World Bank.
  17. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Heng-fu Zou, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 73, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  18. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125520 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Easterly, William & Fischer, Stanley, 2001. "Inflation and the Poor," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(2), pages 160-78, May.
  20. Rousseau, P. L. & Wachtel, P., 2000. "Equity markets and growth: Cross-country evidence on timing and outcomes, 1980-1995," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(12), pages 1933-1957, December.
  21. Klaus Deininger & Lyn Squire, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 512, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  22. Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Ross Levine, 2000. "A New Database on the Structure and Development of the Financial Sector," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(3), pages 597-605, September.
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