Income Distribution, Political Instability, and Investment

35 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2000  

Alberto F. Alesina

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Roberto Perotti

Bocconi University - Department of Economics; European University Institute - Economics Department (ECO); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: October 1993

Abstract

This paper successfully tests on a sample of 70 countries for the period 1960-85 the following hypotheses. Income inequality, by fueling social discontent, increases socio-political instability. The latter, by creating uncertainty in the politico-economic environment, reduces investment. As a consequence, income inequality and investment are inversely related. Since investment is a primary engine of growth, this paper identifies a channel for an inverse relationship between income inequality and growth. We measure socio-political instability with indices which capture the occurrence of more or less violent phenomena of political unrest and we test our hypotheses by estimating a two-equation model in which the endogenous variables are investment and an index of socio-political instability. Our results are robust to sensitivity analysis on the specification of the model and the measure of political instability, and are unchanged when the model is estimated using robust regression techniques.

Suggested Citation

Alesina, Alberto F. and Perotti, Roberto, Income Distribution, Political Instability, and Investment (October 1993). NBER Working Paper No. w4486. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=227302

Alberto F. Alesina (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-8388 (Phone)
617-495-7730 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
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United States

Roberto Perotti

Bocconi University - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Gobbi 5
Milan, 20136
Italy

European University Institute - Economics Department (ECO) ( email )

Villa San Paolo
Via della Piazzuola 43
50133 Florence
Italy

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

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