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A Brief History of Equality

Geoffrey Brennan, Gordon Menzies and Michael Munger ()
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Geoffrey Brennan: Australian National University and Duke University

No 17, Working Paper Series from Economics Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney

Abstract: We explicate an iron law of intergenerational transmission of income dispersion. The same mechanism that limited income disparities, as population and prosperity increased through much of the early industrial revolution, will now sharply exaggerate inequality. The reason is that, for the first time in human history, richer parents are having fewer surviving children. Moreover, the effects of this fact in a setting like the current, where average family size is small and economic growth is strong, are quite marked. The social contract implicit in free market liberalism may require ongoing policy intervention to lean against the scolding winds of inequality.

Pages: 24 pages
Date: 2014-01-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-evo and nep-his
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