Spatial Inequality and Development - is There an Inverted-U Relationship?

30 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2011

See all articles by Christian Lessmann

Christian Lessmann

Technology University of Braunschweig; Ifo Branch Dresden; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute

Date Written: October 27, 2011

Abstract

This paper studies the hypothesis of an inverted-U-shaped relationship between spatial inequality and economic development. The theory of Kuznets (1955) and Williamson (1965) suggests that (spatial) inequality first increases in the process of development, then peaks, and then decreases. To test this hypothesis I have used a unique panel data set of spatial inequalities in 55 countries at different stages of economic development, covering the period 1980-2009. Parametric and semiparametric regressions are carried out using cross-section and (unbalanced) panel data. The results provide strong support for the existence of an inverted U, but importantly I also find spatial inequalities to increase again at very high levels of economic development. Although many factors may be contributing to this rise, one explanation rests on the process of tertiarization, i.e., the structural shift from industrial production towards a service base in the highest-developed economies.

Keywords: regional inequality, Kuznets curve, panel data, semiparametric estimates

JEL Classification: D310, R100, O150

Suggested Citation

Lessmann, Christian, Spatial Inequality and Development - is There an Inverted-U Relationship? (October 27, 2011). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3622, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1950115

Christian Lessmann (Contact Author)

Technology University of Braunschweig ( email )

Abt-Jerusalem-Str. 7
Braunschweig, D-38106
Germany

Ifo Branch Dresden ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, 01069
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, 01069
Germany

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