, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 25-49

Growth and income inequality: a canonical model

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We develop an endogenous growth model with elastic labor supply, in which agents differ in their initial endowments of physical capital. In this framework, the growth rate and the distribution of income are jointly determined. The key equilibrating variable is the equilibrium labor supply. It determines the rate of return to capital, which in turn affects both the rate of capital accumulation and the distribution of income across agents. We then examine the impact of various structural shocks on growth and distribution. We find that faster growth is associated with a more unequal, contemporaneous distribution of income, consistent with recent empirical findings.

Received: 7 October 2004, Revised: 18 February 2005,

JEL Classification Numbers:

O17, O40.

Cecilia García-Peñalosa: Correspondence to
García-Peñalosa would like to acknowledge the financial support received from the Institut d’Economie Publique (IDEP), Marseille. Turnovsky’s research was supported in part by the Castor endowment at the University of Washington. The paper has benefited from seminar presentations at the University of California, Riverside, and the University of Kansas, as well as from the comments of an anonymous referee.