Does Wealth Inequality Matter for Growth? The Effect of Billionaire Wealth, Income Distribution, and Poverty

49 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2012 Last revised: 21 Jul 2015

See all articles by Sutirtha Bagchi

Sutirtha Bagchi

Villanova University - School of Business - Economics

Jan Svejnar

School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, NY, USA; CEPR; IZA; CERGE-EI; University of Ljubljana

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 27, 2015

Abstract

A fundamental question in social sciences relates to the effect of wealth inequality on economic growth. Yet, in tackling the question, researchers have had to use income as a proxy for wealth. We derive a global measure of wealth inequality from Forbes magazine’s listing of billionaires and compare its effect on growth to the effects of income inequality and poverty. We find that wealth inequality reduces economic growth, but when we control for the fact that some billionaires acquired wealth through political connections, the effect of politically connected wealth inequality is negative, while politically unconnected wealth inequality, income inequality and initial poverty have no significant effect.

Keywords: Economic Growth, Wealth Inequality, Income Inequality, Billionaires, Political Connections

JEL Classification: D31, O40, O43

Suggested Citation

Bagchi, Sutirtha and Svejnar, Jan, Does Wealth Inequality Matter for Growth? The Effect of Billionaire Wealth, Income Distribution, and Poverty (March 27, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2091834 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2091834

Sutirtha Bagchi (Contact Author)

Villanova University - School of Business - Economics ( email )

United States

HOME PAGE: https://sites.google.com/site/sutirthabagchi/

Jan Svejnar

School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, NY, USA ( email )

420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

CEPR

London
United Kingdom

IZA

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CERGE-EI

P.O. Box 882
7 Politickych veznu
111 21 Prague 1, Prague
Czech Republic

HOME PAGE: http://www.cerge-ei.cz

University of Ljubljana ( email )

Dunajska 104
Ljubljana, 1000
Slovenia

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