Working Paper
Size matters: measuring the effects of inequality and growth shocks

Understanding the relationship between income inequality and economic growth is of utmost importance to economists and social scientists.

In this paper we use a Bayesian structural vector autoregression approach to estimate the relationship between inequality and growth via growth and inequality shocks for two large economies, China and the USA, for the years 1979–2018.

We find that a growth shock is inequality-increasing, and an inequality shock is growth-reducing. We also find, however, that the sizes of the effects of these shocks are very small, accounting for under 2 per cent of the variance for both countries.

Finally, we also find that the effects of the shocks dissipate within ten years, suggesting that the effects of these shocks are a short-term phenomenon.