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Myths about Beta-Convergence

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  • Konstantin Gluschenko

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Abstract

A popular methodology of studying spatial income inequality is analysis of beta-convergence (i.e. an inverse relationship between current income per capita and its initial level). Its widespread use is based on a belief that the economic growth theory predicts income convergence among economies (countries or regions within a country), and that beta-convergence suggests decreasing income inequality. This article demonstrates that these are nothing but myths; hence, analyzing of betaconvergence cannot serve as an adequate methodology for studying and predicting the evolution of spatial income inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Konstantin Gluschenko, 2012. "Myths about Beta-Convergence," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp1040, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  • Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2012-1040
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. Galor, Oded, 1996. "Convergence? Inferences from Theoretical Models," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 1056-1069, July.
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    4. Baumol, William J, 1986. "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: What the Long-run Data Show," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1072-1085, December.
    5. 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.
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    10. Costas Azariadis & Allan Drazen, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-526.
    11. Furceri, Davide, 2005. "[beta] and [sigma]-convergence: A mathematical relation of causality," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 212-215, November.
    12. Quah, Danny, 1993. " Galton's Fallacy and Tests of the Convergence Hypothesis," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(4), pages 427-443, December.
    13. Barro, Robert J & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Convergence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 223-251, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    spatial income inequality; convergence; economic growth;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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