Inequality and Economic Growth: Do Natural Resources Matter?

38 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2002

See all articles by Thorvaldur Gylfason

Thorvaldur Gylfason

University of Iceland - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Gylfi Zoega

University of Iceland; University of London - Birkbeck College; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: April 2002

Abstract

This paper is intended to demonstrate, in theory as well as empirically, how increased dependence on natural resources tends to go along with less rapid economic growth and greater inequality in the distribution of income across countries. On the other hand, public policy in support of education can simultaneously enhance equality and growth by raising the return to working in higher technology (that is, nonprimary) industries and thus counter some of the potentially adverse effects of excessive natural resource dependence. Together, these two variables "natural resources and education" can help account for the inverse relationship between inequality and growth observed in cross-country data. Moreover, the analysis highlights the role of public revenue policy. Taxes and fees can be used to reduce the attractiveness of primary-sector employment, lift the marginal productivity of capital in higher technology industries and thus increase the rate of interest and economic growth, while reducing the inequality of income and wealth.

JEL Classification: O11, O15, Q32

Suggested Citation

Gylfason, Thorvaldur and Zoega, Gylfi, Inequality and Economic Growth: Do Natural Resources Matter? (April 2002). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=316620

Thorvaldur Gylfason (Contact Author)

University of Iceland - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

IS-101 Reykjavik
Iceland
+354 525 4533/00 (Phone)
+354 552 6806 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.hi.is/~gylfason/inenglish.htm)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Gylfi Zoega

University of Iceland ( email )

IS-101 Reykjavik
Iceland

University of London - Birkbeck College ( email )

Malet Street
London, WC1E 7HX
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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