Inequality in Emerging Countries

ECINEQ Working Paper No. 2012-256

28 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2012

See all articles by Nathalie Chusseau

Nathalie Chusseau

University of Lille I - EQUIPPE; MESHS-CNRS

Joël Hellier


Date Written: May 1, 2012


We review the theoretical and empirical economic literature upon income inequality in emerging countries. We firstly describe the main observed developments and show that these are rather diverse across countries and developing regions. We subsequently expose the main theoretical mechanisms. We make a distinction between the traditional approaches (Kuznets, Lewis, Stolper-Samuelson) and the new explanations. In the latter, globalization and globalization-driven technological changes are at the core of the analyses. Both approaches bring out several opposite mechanisms. Finally, the empirical estimates display rather conflicting results. Most cross-country studies find a weak impact of globalization on income inequality. In contrast, several longitudinal studies concerning countries taken separately or small groups of countries reveal a positive correlation between openness and the relative demand for skill and inequality. These apparently conflicting findings reflect the opposite mechanisms linked to globalisation and the differences in countries’ experiences.

Keywords: Development, emerging countries, globalization, inequality, technology

JEL Classification: E24, F43, O11, O15

Suggested Citation

Chusseau, Nathalie and Hellier, Joël, Inequality in Emerging Countries (May 1, 2012). ECINEQ Working Paper No. 2012-256, Available at SSRN: or

Nathalie Chusseau

University of Lille I - EQUIPPE ( email )

Université Lille 1 Sciences et Technologies
Faculté des Sciences Economiques et Sociales
Villeneuve d'Ascq, 59655

MESHS-CNRS ( email )

2 Rue des Canonniers
Lille, 59000

Joël Hellier (Contact Author)

LEM-CNRS (UMR 9221) ( email )

104, avenue du peuple Belge
Villeneuve d'Ascq Cedex, 59655

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