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Working Paper 195 - Inequality Economic Growth and Poverty in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

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  • Mthuli Ncube

    ()

  • John Anyanwu

    ()

  • Kjell Hausken

Abstract

In this paper, we have presented the patterns of inequality, growth and income inequality in the MENA region. Using a cross-sectional time series data of MENA countries for the period 1985-2009, we have also investigated the effect of income inequality on key societal development, namely economic growth and poverty, in the region. Our empirical results show that income inequality reduces economic growth and increases poverty in the region. Other factors having significant negative effect on economic growth in the MENA region include previous growth rate, exchange rate, government consumption expenditure or government burden, initial per capita GDP, inflation, and primary education. On the other hand, variables positively and significantly associated with MENA’s economic growth are domestic investment rate, urbanization, infrastructure development, and mineral rent as a percentage of GDP. In addition, apart from income inequality, other factors increasing poverty in the region are foreign direct investment, population growth, inflation rate, and the attainment of only primary education. Poverty-reducing variables in the region include domestic investment, trade openness, exchange rate, income per capita, and oil rents as a percentage of GDP. The policy implications of these results are discussed.

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Paper provided by African Development Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 999.

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Date of creation: 03 Jan 2014
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Handle: RePEc:adb:adbwps:999

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