In contrast to the parametric (quadratic) specification used for examining the Kuznets hypothesis, this study relies on the semiparametric Bayesian inference of the partially linear regression to re-assess the validity of an inverted-U shape of the Kuznets curve. The simple framework permits us to perform estimation and model comparison in a unified way. Empirical results using cross-sectional data on 75 countries indicate that there exists an (approximately) inverted-√, hence, asymmetric relation between inequality and per capita GDP. Moreover, judged by the Bayes factor, overwhelming evidence is found in favor of our semiparametric specification. Finally, robustness check using alternative measure of inequality and pool data confirms our findings.
Journal of Development Economics 83(2), pp.491-505