Neenakost možnosti znižuje gospodarsko rast

Eden izmed ključnih problemov neenakosti, kot sem tukaj že nekajkrat pisal, je v tem, da tisti, ki so imeli “manj sreče” pri rojstvu v ustrezno socialno okolje (rojeni staršem z nizkimi dohodki), imajo že v osnovi manj možnosti, da lahko uresničijo svoje talente. Njihovi talenti bolj verjetno ostanejo neopaženi ali pa neizkoriščeni, ker jim starši ne morejo zagotoviti možnosti (tečaji, treningi, izobrazba), da bi jih lahko pokazali ali razvili. Zaradi teh neenakih možnosti, pogojenih z dohodkovnimi oziroma socialnimi razlikami, je tudi produktivni potencial države manjši.

V osnovi je treba ločiti, da ima dohodkovna neenakost lahko tako pozitivni kot negativni vpliv na gospodarsko rast. Večja neenakost ima zaradi večje koncentracije dohodkov pri bogatejših in njihovih investicij v produktivne kapacitete lahko pozitivni vpliv na rast. Po drugi strani pa pride do izpada pozitivnega prispevka talentiranih, ki zaradi neenakih možnosti ne dobijo priložnosti, da bi prispevali k rasti. Vprašanje je, kateri izmed obeh učinkov prevaga. Zadnje empirične študije (Marrero & Rodríguez (2013); van der Weide & Milanovic (2014)), kažejo, da je drugi učinek močnejši. Torej, gospodarska rast je nižja v državah, kjer je neenakost možnosti večja, zaradi česar ima celotna neenakost negativni vpliv na gospodarsko rast.

V še sveži študiji pa Marrero, Rodríguez & van der Weide (2016) podatke (za ZDA) razbijejo na tri skupine: gospodinjstva z nizkimi, srednjimi in visokimi dohodki in pokažejo, da je učinek neenakosti na rast pri revnih negativen, pri  bogatih pa pozitiven. Ko kontrolirajo za neenakost možnosti, skupen učinek neenakosti na bodočo rast dramatično upade. To pomeni, da je pri revnejših gospodinjstvih ključni omejujoči dejavnik neenakost možnosti in ne sama skupna dohodkovna neenakost.

Ključno je torej, kako tistim z nižjimi dohodki omogočiti boljši dostop do izobrazbe, zdravstvenih in drugih storitev in jim s tem omogočiti ne le izboljšanje lastnega dohodkovnega položaja (socialna mobilnost navzgor), pač pa, da več prispevajo k skupnemu outputu in blaginji. To (inkluzivna rast) je eno izmed ključnih vprašanj bodočega gospodarskega razvoja.

Two recent empirical studies in particular stand out. In an application to the United States, Marrero and Rodríguez (2013) find that a particular component of overall inequality, inequality of opportunity (IO), has a negative effect on growth. IO arguably reduces growth as it favors human capital accumulation by individuals with better social origins, rather than by individuals with more talent. The second study, van der Weide and Milanovic (2014), also an application to the United States, “unpacks” growth. It asks whether individuals at different steps of the socio-economic ladder fare differently in societies with high (low) levels of income inequality. They find that they do, namely that income inequality is bad for the growth prospects of the poor but good for the rich.

This paper disaggregates the inequality-growth relationship in order to address two empirical questions: Can the effect of overall inequality on future income growth be attributed to IO? If indeed, is this particularly true for the poor, or does it concern households of all socio-economic classes?

Total income inequality is found to be negatively correlated with posterior growth of average income per capita when IO is not controlled for. Adding IO to the regression reveals that the correlation with future income growth is largely channeled through IO, leaving the effect of total inequality mostly insignificant.

When we re-examine the relationship between total inequality and income growth for low-, middle- and high income households, not controlling for IO, we find that the relationship is negative for the poor but positive for the rich. However, also here, the significance of total inequality is dramatically reduced when IO is added to the regression. This suggests that it is IO that is limiting the growth prospects of the poor rather than total inequality.

The exact channels via which IO might be impacting on future income growth remain to be identified. However, concentrating on IO while tracking growth separately for the poor, the middle class and the rich, denotes a necessary step forward in the dissection of the inequality-growth relationship.

Vir: Marrero, Rodríguez & van der Weide (2016), Unequal Opportunity, Unequal Growth

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