() and Therese Nilsson
Andreas Bergh: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Postal: P.O. Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden
Therese Nilsson: Department of Economics, Postal: Lund University, P.O. Box 7082, SE-220 07 Lund, Sweden
Abstract: We show theoretically that the poor can benefit from price changes induced by higher income inequality. As the number of poor in a society increases, or when the income difference between rich and poor increases, the market for products aimed towards the poor grows and such products become more profitable. As a result, there are circumstances where an increase in poverty associates with higher purchasing power of the poor. Using cross-country data at two points in time on the price of rice and Big Mac hamburgers, we confirm the relationship between inequality and purchasing power of the poor, and show that it is robust to several control variables and also to a first-difference specification.
14 pages, January 24, 2012
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