The political economy of income comparisons and economic growth
Azam Chaudhry and
Phillip Garner ()
Economic Modelling, 2013, vol. 31, issue C, 214-222
The literature on income inequality has provided various explanations as to how income inequality can affect growth, with the emphasis on ideas such as investments in human capital, issues of occupational choice, or the redistributive policies of governments. Inequality not only has a direct effect on the distribution of consumption in an economy, but it also has a powerful effect on people's subjective sense of well being. This paper takes a novel approach by focusing on the way in which a government's choice of economic policy can be influenced by how individuals perceive themselves relative to other individuals, both within the country and in foreign countries. The chosen policy affects economic growth, with the assumption being that policies that promote growth also tend to result in more switching of individuals between income groups. We show that the government's optimal policy depends on the importance of both inside country and outside country income comparisons, the fraction of national income earned by the different income groups, the potential magnitude of economic growth, the probability of switching between income groups in the presence of growth, and the relative importance of the various income groups. The model predicts that a greater degree of inside country income comparison is bad for growth whereas more outside country comparison is good for growth.
Keywords: Inequality; Income comparisons; Political economy; Growth (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: P16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:31:y:2013:i:c:p:214-222
Access Statistics for this article
Economic Modelling is currently edited by S. Hall and P. Pauly
More articles in Economic Modelling from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Dana Niculescu ().