The existing literature shows that income inequality plays an important role in growth process, and such a relationship is better characterized as nonlinearity. The paper revisits the issue by employing the threshold regressions with instrumental variables approach. Using the initial level of economic development as a threshold variable, we find strong evidence in support of a nonlinear income threshold in the relationship. In particular, the data show that an increase in inequality would hinder growth in low-income countries but accelerate growth in high-income ones. The results therefore suggest that redistributive policy that alleviates inequality can foster economic growth in low-income countries, while policymakers confront a tradeoff between inequality and growth in high-income countries.
Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics 13(2), pp.1-20