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Institutions, Inequality and Growth: A review of theory and evidence on the institutional determinants of growth and inequality

Institutions, Inequality and Growth: A review of theory and evidence on the institutional determinants of growth and inequality

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Published by Unicef Innocenti
The difference in the development experiences between the most developed countries and the least developed countries of today is vast. Luxembourg’s per capita income is 200 times larger than Liberia’s. Even within the developing world, growth is very unequal. East Asia and parts of Latin America are growing at impressive rates, while many other countries - especially in Sub-Saharan Africa - struggle with sluggish and volatile growth. This study discusses the theoretical challenge posed in identifying the mechanisms that link institutions and equitable economic growth at various levels of aggregation. The relationship between governance modes and institutions on the one hand, and economic growth and development on the other hand, may take very different forms. This relates to the question of whether a single and unique combination of institutions and governance modes is optimal for (equitable) growth, or whether different governance modes and institutions may lead to good or equitable growth performance in different locations and historical contexts.
The difference in the development experiences between the most developed countries and the least developed countries of today is vast. Luxembourg’s per capita income is 200 times larger than Liberia’s. Even within the developing world, growth is very unequal. East Asia and parts of Latin America are growing at impressive rates, while many other countries - especially in Sub-Saharan Africa - struggle with sluggish and volatile growth. This study discusses the theoretical challenge posed in identifying the mechanisms that link institutions and equitable economic growth at various levels of aggregation. The relationship between governance modes and institutions on the one hand, and economic growth and development on the other hand, may take very different forms. This relates to the question of whether a single and unique combination of institutions and governance modes is optimal for (equitable) growth, or whether different governance modes and institutions may lead to good or equitable growth performance in different locations and historical contexts.

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Published by: Unicef Innocenti on Aug 11, 2011
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12/14/2012

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 May 2011INSTITUTIONS, INEQUALITY ANDGROWTH: A REVIEW OF THEORY ANDEVIDENCE ON THE INSTITUTIONALDETERMINANTS OF GROWTH ANDINEQUALITY
Richard Bluhm and Adam SzirmaiIWP-2011
-
02
Innocenti Working Paper
UNICEFInnocenti Research Centre
 
ii
Innocenti Working Papers
UNICEF Innocenti Working Papers are intended to disseminate initial research contributions
within the Centre‟s programme of work, addressing social, economic and institutional aspects
of the realisation of the human rights of children.The findings, interpretations and conclusions expressed in this paper are entirely those of theauthors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or the views of UNICEF.The designations employed in this publication and the presentation of the material do notimply on the part of UNICEF the expression of any opinion whatsoever concerning the legalstatus of any country or territory, or of its authorities, or the delimitation of its frontiers.Extracts from this publication may be freely reproduced with due acknowledgement.© 2011
United Nations Children‟s Fund (UNICEF)
 ISSN: 1014-7837
 Readers citing this document are asked to use the following form:
Bluhm, Richard and Adam Szirmai (2011
),
Institutions, inequality and growth: a review of theory and evidence on the institutional determinants of growth and inequality
 InnocentiWorking Paper 
No. 2011-02. Florence, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.
 
iii
UNICEF INNOCENTI RESEARCH CENTRE
The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre in Florence, Italy, was established in 1988 to
strengthen the research capability of the United Nations Children‟s Fund and to support its
advocacy for children worldwide. The Innocenti Research Centre (formally known as theInternational Child Development Centre) generates knowledge and analysis to support policyformulation and advocacy in favour of children; acts as a convener and catalyst for
knowledge exchange and strategic reflections on children‟s concerns; and supports
programme development and capacity-building.Innocenti studies present new knowledge and perspectives on critical issues affecting
children, informing current and future areas of UNICEF‟s work. The Centre‟s publications
represent contributions to a global debate on child rights issues, and include a range of opinions. For that reason, the Centre may produce publications that do not necessarily reflectUNICEF policies or approaches on some topics.The Centre collaborates with its host institution in Florence, the Istituto degli Innocenti, inselected areas of work. Core funding for the Centre is provided by the Government of Italyand UNICEF. Additional financial support for specific projects is provided by governments,international institutions and private sources, including by UNICEF National Committees, aswell as by UNICEF offices in collaborative studies.For further information and to download or order this and other publications, please visit theIRC website at http://www.unicef-irc.orgCorrespondence should be addressed to:UNICEF Innocenti Research CentrePiazza SS. Annunziata, 1250122 Florence, ItalyTel: (+39) 055 20 330Fax: (+39) 055 2033 220Email: florence@unicef.org

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