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posted on 22.05.2021, 10:13 by Nazanin Behzadan
In this dissertation I analyze the effect of within-country income inequality on economic outcomes. I develop a new model of international trade with non-homothetic preferences whereby within-country income distribution affects the pattern of trade and economic growth. An appreciation of the real exchange rate inducing a production shift to the sector with less long-run growth potential is known as the Dutch disease and in this model the disease is triggered by within-country income differences. First, I show that the Dutch disease can arise solely from inequality in the distribution of natural resource rents where the country with the less equal distribution will have less production of manufacturing goods and less development of learning-by-doing in this sector. As opposed to conventional models, where income distribution has no effect on economic outcomes, an unequal distribution of the resource wealth can generate the Dutch disease. In addition, alternative forms of foreign transfers, such as foreign aid and remittances, interact with the income distribution in dissimilar manners and generate differences in spending patterns, the real exchange rate, production patterns, and the pattern of international trade. I show that while foreign aid can cause economic stagnation, remittances can in fact foster economic growth. I also provide a range of empirical tests of the theoretical model, including both difference and system GMM estimations in a dynamic panel setting and disentangle the effects of inequality and institutional quality. My empirical analyses support the hypothesis that inequality indeed plays a significant role in whether being resource-rich is a blessing or a curse for a country. The more unequal is the distribution of natural resource rents, the stronger is the disease. Moreover, I verify my hypothesis that foreign aid and remittances are not similar in generating the Dutch disease using data from a panel of countries and industries covering the years 1991-2009 while controlling for the issues of omitted variable bias and the endogeneity of the transfers. Finally, a similar method is used in order to draw empirical evidence that lends credence to the positive relation between more equal distribution of resource rents and higher manufacturing growth.





Master of Arts



Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type


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Economics (Theses)