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Myths about Beta-Convergence

  • Konstantin Gluschenko

    ()

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.

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Paper provided by William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan in its series William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series with number wp1040.

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Length: pages
Date of creation: 01 Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2012-1040
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  1. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1991. "Convergence across States and Regions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(1), pages 107-182.
  2. Wodon, Quentin & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 2006. "Convergence forward and backward?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 47-51, July.
  3. Quah, Danny, 1993. " Galton's Fallacy and Tests of the Convergence Hypothesis," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(4), pages 427-43, December.
  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 1072-85, December.
  5. R.M.Melnikov, 2005. "Analysis of the dynamics of regional economic differentiation: foreign approaches and domestic practice," Journal "Region: Economics and Sociology", Institute of Economics and Industrial Engineering of Siberian Branch of RAS, vol. 4.
  6. 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.
  7. S Durlauf & Danny Quah, 1998. "The New Empirics of Economic Growth," CEP Discussion Papers dp0384, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Barro, Robert J & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Convergence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 223-51, April.
  9. Friedman, Milton, 1992. "Do Old Fallacies Ever Die?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 2129-32, December.
  10. Magrini, Stefano, 2004. "Regional (di)convergence," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 62, pages 2741-2796 Elsevier.
  11. Galor, Oded, 1996. "Convergence? Inferences from Theoretical Models," CEPR Discussion Papers 1350, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Azariadis, Costas & Drazen, Allan, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-26, May.
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