By Alexander Apostolides on May 17, 2011

New economic Papers - Inequality in the extremely long run

A interesting new working paper by the Department of Economics of Oslo: using correction method to existing social tables to estimate inequality form Ancient Rome to India under partition. The paper can be seen here:

Inequality and growth in the very long run:
inferring inequality from data on social groups
J rgen Modalsli, University of Oslo

Abstract:
Income distribution data from before the Industrial Revolution usually
comes in the shape of social tables: inventories of a range of social groups
and their mean incomes. These are frequently reported without adjusting
for within-group income dispersion, leading to a systematic downward bias
in the reporting of pre-industrial inequality. This paper suggests a correction
method, and applies it to an existing collection of twenty- ve social tables,
from Rome in AD 1 to India in 1947. The corrections, using a variety
of assumptions on within-group dispersion, lead to substantial increases in
the Gini coe cients. Combining the inequality levels with data on GDP, a
robust positive relationship between income inequality and economic growth
is con rmed. This supports earlier proposals, based on fewer data points,
of a \super Kuznets curve" of increasing inequality over the entire pre-
industrial period

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