Income Distribution in Less Developed Countries

Income Distribution in Less Developed Countries

Income Distribution in Less Developed Countries

Income Distribution in Less Developed Countries

Synopsis

This is a major book in a key area of development economics. It gives a comprehensive survey of the link between income distribution and the growth of national income, bringing out major patterns and trends, and concluding that there is still considerable scope for growth with equity in LDCs.

Excerpt

Compared with the attention given to problems of economic growth and development, the distribution of income among individuals and households is much neglected in the training of economists. But it is a subject of great importance. It is the branch of the subject that concerns us most intimately as individuals. It is the source of much of the problems that concern policy-makers. In addition, issues of income distribution are closely intertwined with the process of economic growth and development. This is particularly the case in less developed countries. After decades in which the growth of national income was viewed as the surest way of overcoming the absolute poverty afflicting a large proportion of people in less developed countries, there has been growing doubt whether the growth of national income by itself can solve the problem of poverty without a simultaneous improvement in the distribution of income. There is also some scepticism as to whether the growth of national income can be much accelerated, given the prevailing distribution of income in these countries.

Therefore, since about the mid-1960s, there was a rapid expansion of research work by economists on income distribution. Inevitably, individual researchers have concentrated on particular aspects of the subject. The time is now overdue for a comprehensive review of the literature, not only for the training of students, but also to identify major gaps in the literature which need further research. The main object of this book is to provide such a review.

This is particularly necessary in view of the imbalance in the current literature. A large part of it is concerned with statistical aspects of the subject, such as the invention of an endless stream of new measures of inequality and poverty, and the estimation of econometric equations relating income distribution to other aspects of the economy. Another part has been devoted to recommendations addressed to governments on policies relating to income distribution, not always founded on empirical evidence or on the careful analysis of that evidence. In between, there has been remarkably little work on the analytical framework of the subject, either to explain the patterns uncovered by the statistical research or as the . . .

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