Sigma convergence versus beta convergence: Evidence from U.S. county-level data

Andrew T. Young, Matthew J. Higgins, Daniel Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

249 Scopus citations


In this paper, we outline (i) why σ-convergence may not accompany β-convergence, (ii) discuss evidence of β-convergence in the United States, and (iii) use U.S. county-level data containing over 3,000 cross-sectional observations to demonstrate that σ-convergence cannot be detected at the county level across the United States, or within the large majority of the individual U.S. states considered separately. Indeed, in many cases statistically significant σ-divergence is found.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1083-1093
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Money, Credit and Banking
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Balanced growth
  • Gini coefficient
  • Income distribution
  • Income equality
  • Solow growth model
  • Speed of convergence
  • U.S. county-level data
  • β-convergence
  • σ-convergence


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