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Inequality and unsustainable growth: Two sides of the same coin?

This note focuses on the duration of growth spells—defined as the interval starting with a growth upbreak and ending with a downbreak—and on the links between duration and various policies and country characteristics, including income distribution. It turns out that many of even the poorest countries have succeeded in initiating growth at high rates for a few years. What is rarer—and what separates growth miracles from laggards—is the ability to sustain growth. The question then becomes: what determines the length of growth spells, and what is the role of income inequality in duration?