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Abstract

This commentary poses a series of progressively harder questions in the economic analysis of growth, inequality and poverty. Starting with relatively straightforward analysis of the relationship between growth and inequality, the first level of hard questions come when we ask what policies and institutions are causally related to equitable growth. Some progress is being made here by the economics literature, but relatively little is known about the second level, harder questions—how a society comes to acquire “good” policies and institutions, and what exactly it is that we are buying into when we accept the number one Millennium Development Goal of the United Nations— halving the incidence of income poverty by the year 2015.

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