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1999 Documento de Trabajo #55

Education and Income Distribution: New Evidence from Cross-country Data

This paper presents empirical evidence on how education is related to income distribution in a panel data set of a broad range of countries for a period between 1960 and 1990. The findings indicate that education factors – higher attainment and more equal distribution of education – play a significant role in making income distribution more equal. The result also confirms the Kuznets inverted-U curve for the relationship between income level and income inequality. We also find that government social expenditure contributes to more equal distribution of income. However, a significant proportion of cross-country and over-time variations of income inequality still remain unexplained. Simulation exercises on income distribution show that growth of income and education on their own cannot make income distribution more equal in the short and medium term.

José De Gregorio
Jong-Wha Lee

Keywords: Education, Income Distribution, Kuznets.