Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
Lund University, Department of Economics

No 2013:15: Inequality and Growth: The Role of Beliefs and Culture

Martin Strieborny ()
Additional contact information
Martin Strieborny: Department of Economics, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: Governments perpetually align their policies to satisfy shifts in voters' relative demand for economic growth versus social equality. Following such shifts, increases (decreases) in government interventions lower (raise) both inequality and growth. This mechanism generates a positive co-movement between inequality and growth. The pattern is weaker in countries where a culturally determined belief that the rich are deserving renders equality a less important objective in the first place. I develop this analytical result in the theoretical framework of Alesina and Angeletos (2005), and I provide robust empirical support for it in a panel of 38 countries over the period 1964-2004.

Keywords: culture; inequality; growth

JEL-codes: O15; O40; P16; Z10

43 pages, April 24, 2013

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WP13_15.pdf PDF-file 

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