Bending the Kuznets Curve
Wrenching & Levelling Forces during Agricultural
Transformation in Taiwan & Chile

By Martin Andersson
December 2003
Almqvist & Wiksell International
ISBN: 91-22-02026-8
217 pages, 6" x 8 "
$67.50 Paper Original

This is a Ph.D. dissertation. What are the effects of growth on equality in a long-term perspective? What are the effects of different patterns of equality on subsequent growth? And why are these questions relevant for the understanding of economic development? These are the overriding questions posed in this study. They are addressed in the context of long-term change from economic backwardness to modern economic growth by examining the processes of agricultural transformation of two successful growth achievers - Taiwan and Chile. In recent day empirical examinations of the growth-equality relationship, the so-called Kuznets-curve - that inequality initially increases before it declines - has been rejected on the grounds that the relationship does not appear in such systematic fashion. In assessing this latter-day comprehension, the author argues that the thrust of the Kuznets-curve is not its shape but the underlying forces at play during their agricultural transformations. In the initially relatively equal income distribution in Taiwan, the dynamics of homogenous demand eased the wrenching forces of structural change despite population pressure and forceful industrialization. Chile, on the other hand, starting from a wrenched situation, experienced aggravated wrenching and delayed dynamic change due to its lack of universal access to markets. When dynamic change eventually took place - after decades of forced institutional change - leveling forces outpaced the wrenching forces.

Economic History
Lund Studies in Economic History, No. 25

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