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Economic Growth and Inequality: Evidence from the Young Democracies of South America

Author(s): 
Manoel Bittencourt
Publication date: 
July 2013
We investigate in this paper whether income growth has played any role on inequality in all nine young South American democracies during 1970-2007. The results, based on dynamic panel time-series analysis, suggest that income growth has played a progressive role in reducing inequality during the period. Moreover, the results suggest that this negative relationship is stronger in the 1990s and early 2000s, a period in which the continent achieved macroeconomic stabilisation, political consolidation and much improved economic performance. On the contrary, during the 1980s (the so-called "lost decade"), the negative income growth experienced by the continent at the time has hit the poor the hardest, which has consequently lead to an increase in inequality. All in all, we suggest that consistent growth, and all that it encompasses, is an important equaliser which should not be discarded as a plausible option by policy makers interested in a more equal income distribution.
Publication PDF: 
Series title: 
Working paper 361
Journal: 
Macroeconomic Analysis and International Finance
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