Governance matters for social welfare. Better governed countries are richer, happier and have fewer social and environmental problems. Good governance implies that public sector agents act impartially. It manifests itself in the form of equality before the law, an independent and professional public administration and the control of corruption.
This book considers how economic inequality – both interpersonal and interethnic – can affect the quality of governance. To this end, it brings together insights from three different perspectives. First, a long-run historical one that exploits anthropological data on pre-industrial societies. Second, based on experimental work conducted by social psychologists and behavioural economists. Third, through cross-country empirical analysis drawn from a large sample of contemporary societies.
The long-run perspective relates the inequality-governance relationship to societal responses in the face of uncertainty – responses that persist today in the guise of cultural traits that vary across countries. The experimental evidence deepens our understanding of human behaviour in unequal settings and in different governance contexts. Together, the long-run perspective and the experimental evidence help inform the cross-country analysis of the impact of economic inequality on governance. This analysis suggests the importance of both economic inequality and culture for the quality of governance and yields several policy implications.
Table of Contents
List of figures. List of tables. Acknowledgements.
1. Introduction. 2. Concepts, measures and correlations. 3. Insights from the past 4. Insights from social psychology and behavioural economics. 5. Economic inequality and governance in contemporary societies. 6. Culture, economic inequality and governance. 7. Conclusion.
Appendix. References. Index.
Andreas P. Kyriacou is Professor of Economics at the Universitat de Girona (Spain). Over the years, he has worked on a range of research topics mostly from the perspective of Institutional Economics. These include federalism and decentralisation, non-economic motives driving individual behaviour and, more recently, the causes and consequences of government quality.