Effective Financial Development, Inequality and Poverty
Date: 8 February 2012
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
PhD in Economics
This thesis addresses the question, whether the impact of financial development on the relative and absolute indicators of poverty is dependent on the levels of the human capital present in an economy. To answer this question, first we develop a theoretical framework to explain the growth process in the context of financial development ...
This thesis addresses the question, whether the impact of financial development on the relative and absolute indicators of poverty is dependent on the levels of the human capital present in an economy. To answer this question, first we develop a theoretical framework to explain the growth process in the context of financial development assuming that human capital is heterogeneous in terms of the skills and education people have. Then, by using the data sets based on five-year averages over 1960-2010 and 1980-2010, covering 107 developed and developing countries, we empirically investigate the extensions of the theoretical framework developed earlier. These extensions cover the relationships between: 1. Income inequality and economic growth 2. Financial development, human capital and income inequality, and 3. Financial development, human capital and poverty We provide empirical evidence using modern panel data techniques of dynamic and static GMM. The findings elucidate that income inequality and economic growth are inter-dependent on each other. There exists an inverse relationship between initial inequality and economic growth. The changes in income inequality follow the pattern identified by Kuznets (1955) known as Kuznets’ hypothesis. The results also show that financial development helps in reducing income inequalities and in alleviating poverty, only when there is a sufficient level of human capital available. On the basis of our findings we develop the term "effective financial development" which means that financial development is effective in accelerating growth levels, reducing income inequalities and alleviating poverty only if there is a sufficient level of human capital available. The empirical study covers multiple aspects of financial development like private credit extended by banks and other financial institutions, liquid liabilities and stock market capitalization. The results of the empirical investigations are robust to multiple data sets and various indicators of income inequality, financial development, poverty and human capital. The study also provides marginal analysis, which helps in understanding the impact of financial development on inequality and poverty at different levels of human capital. This research study of effective financial development can be a useful learning paradigm for the academics and researchers interested in growth economics and keen to learn how poverty and income inequality can be reduced effectively. This study can also be useful for the policy makers in the financial institutions, because it provides robust empirical evidence that shows that financial development cannot help in alleviating poverty and in reducing inequalities unless there is a sufficient level of human capital available. The findings can be useful for policy makers, particularly in the developing countries where high levels of income inequalities and poverty are big problems. This study explains the mechanism of how effective financial development can be used to reduce income inequalities and to alleviate poverty. It also explains the process of inter-linkages between financial development, human capital, inequality, economic growth and financial instability. The policy makers can also take advantage from the marginal analyses that illustrate the minimum levels of private credit and primary and secondary schooling above which the effects of financial development and human capital become significant in reducing inequalities and poverty.
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