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LITERATURE REVIEW ON INCOME INEQUALITY AND ECONOMIC GROWTH

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LITERATURE REVIEW ON INCOME INEQUALITY AND ECONOMIC GROWTH

 

 

a b s t r a c t

This paper provides a comprehensive literature review of the relationship between income inequality and economic growth. In the theoretical literature, we identified various models in which income inequality is linked to economic growth. They include (i) The level of economic development, (ii) The level of technological development, (iii) Social-political unrest, (iv) The savings rate, (v) The imperfection of credit markets, (vi) The political economy, (vii) Institutions and (viii) The fertility rate. Based on the transmission mechanisms of these models, we found that the relationship between income inequality and growth can be negative, positive or inconclusive. The first three models demonstrate that the relationship is inconclusive, the fourth shows that it is positive, while the remainder indicate that the relationship should be negative. In the face of theoretical ambiguity, we also noted that the empirical findings on the relationship between income inequality and growth are highly debatable. These findings can be broadly classified into four categories, namely negative, positive, inconclusive and no relationship. Based on these findings, we provide a critical survey on methodology issues employed in the prior studies and propose a better methodology to researchers for future studies.

Keywords: Economic growth, Income inequality, Literature review