Inequality in developing economies: the role of institutional development
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This paper studies the distributive impact of institutional change in developing countries. In such economies, property rights systems may preserve the interests of an influential minority, who can control key-markets, access to assets and investment opportunities, especially if they enjoy disproportionate political power. We test this hypothesis using cross-section and panel data methods on a sample of low- and middle-income economies from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Results suggest that: (a) increasing property rights protection increases income inequality; (b) this effect is larger in low-democracy environments; (c) some countries have developed political institutions capable of counterbalancing this effect.
KeywordsInequality Developing economies Institutions Property rights Democracy
JEL ClassificationO15 O17 D70
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