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Ann Reg Sci 1994 28 177 196 The Annals o f Regi0nalScience Springer Verlag 1994 The spatial and temporal dynamics of US regional income inequality 1950 1989 C Cindy Fan and E m i l i o Casetti 2 Departmen of Geography Universityof California LosAngeles 405 HilgardAvenue Los Angeles CA 90024 USA Fax 310 206 5976 2Department of Geography Ohio State University I90 N Oval Mall Columbus OH 43210 USA Received January 1993 Acceptedin revised form March 1994 Abstract The inverted U hypothesis which so influenced research on regional in come inequality is obsolete and does not predict or explain the recent rise in regional inequality We argue that the regional dynamics literature on polarization polarization reversal and spatial restructuring offers more powerful explanations to changes in regional income inequality In addition to the conventional approach of measuring systemic inequality the empirical analysis in this paper emphasizes inequality variations which put into focus the interplay between regional dynamics and regional income inequality The findings highlight the impact of sectoral shifts and global spatial restructuring on the US regional economy where new cores of growth and renewed growth are emerging Introduction Kuznets seminal work in 1955 introduced the inverted U hypothesis which states that income inequality between individuals tends to first increase and then decline as a nation progresses during the course of economic development The hypothesis has since been extended to explain changes in regional income inequality Based on international cross sectional data and national time series data Williamson 1965 showed that regional inequality within nations also follows the path of an inverted U increasing in early stages of economic development and decreasing in later stages The initial increase in regional inequality is explained by concentration of income and income generating factors in selected regions of a nation and the subsequent decrease in regional

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