Is inequality good for growth?

Whether inequality affects growth is an interesting question for at least two reasons. First, today inequality is a hot topic, and many claim it is bad for our economy. Is there any truth to these claims? Should we actively try to reduce inequality?

Second, if wealth distribution matters for growth, then differences in development among countries can potentially be (partially) explained by their initial, historical wealth distributions. For instance, if inequality is good for growth, then it could be that countries with high inequality at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution (i.e. when growth kicked off) have done better than those with low inequality.

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Online education and inequality

Web-based teaching methods have been becoming increasingly popular and widespread lately. In the forefront are MOOCs, but one can think of any lecture or short video online, educational games, simulations, websites, quizzes, problem sets, etc. as part of a wide array of online tools that can help one learn.

But what is the effect of these new tools? Are they – for instance – crowding out “real-life” teachers from the market, or depress their wages? Or do they perhaps increase the gap between countries with low and high education levels?

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