The contrast is vivid. While the majority of people in the industrial world and some in the developing world enjoy unprecedented affluence, a far greater number of people in the low-income countries live in abject poverty. Although several developing countries are achieving rapid economic growth and poverty reduction, most formerly centrally planned countries are struggling to implement market-oriented reforms in the midst of economic deterioration and rising poverty. The paramount importance of reducing poverty worldwide is forcing economists and policymakers to look at how income distribution and economic growth interact.The essays in this volume grew out of a 1995 conference sponsored by the International Monetary Fund. The contributors are scholars and policymakers from academic institutions, governments, and international organizations. The questions discussed include: How does income distribution interact with economic growth in the short run and the long run? To what extent can government use transfer programs to increase the incomes of the poor? How can government use social programs to help the poor increase their income-earning capacity?
Does distributional inequality create an obstacle to long-term poverty reduction? Alternatively, is distributional inequality a necessary means of achieving economic growth? Generally, the contributors agree that there need not be a trade-off between growth and equity in the long run. However, attempts by government to influence income distribution through large-scale tax and transfer programs can have a negative impact on growth.
Income distribution and sustainable growth - the perspective from the IMF at fifty, Michel Camdessus; income distribution and sustainable growth - a Latin American perspective, Enrique Iglesias; the role of government in the contemporary world, Joseph E. Stiglitz; comments - Alberto Giovannini, Jean-Claude Milleron; income distribution and growth in industrial countries, Andrea Brandolini and Nicola Rossi; comments - Michael Deppler, Assar Lindbeck; equity and growth in developing countries - old and new perspectives on the policy issues, Michael Bruno et al; comments - Jiwei Lou, Jacob M. Mwanza, Dani Rodrik; equitable economic transformation, John Flemming; comments - Danuta Gotz-Kozierkiewicz, Grzegorz W. Kolodko, Nicholas Stern; monetary and fiscal policy for equitable economic growth, Arnold C. Harberger; comments - Christian Morrisson, Lawrence Summers; external sector and income distribution, Jagdish Bhagwati; comments - Nancy Birdsall, Naohiro Yashiro; the political economy of macroeconomic stabilizations and income inequality - myths and reality, Alberto Alesina; comments - James Buchanan, Anne Krueger; equity implications of IMF policy advice; monetary policy advice - equity issues in IMF policy advice, Manuel Guitian; macroeconomic adjustment with major structural reforms - implications for employment and income distribution, Vito Tanzi; comments - Ricardo Hausmann, Arjun Sengupta.
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