We provide empirical evidence on the existence of the Pigou–Dalton principle. The latter indicates that aggregate welfare is – ceteris paribus – maximized when incomes of all individuals are equalized (and therefore marginal utility from income is as well). Using anthropometric panel data on 101 countries during the 19th and 20th centuries, we determine that there is a systematic negative and concave relationship between height inequality and average height. The robustness of this relationship is tested by means of several robustness checks, including two instrument variable regressions. These findings help to elucidate the impact of economic inequality on welfare.
- Height; Income distribution; Inequality; Welfare; Anthropometry; Biological standard of living
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)