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When the Centre Cannot Hold: Patterns of Polarization in Nigeria

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  • F. Clementi
  • A. L. Dabalen
  • V. Molini
  • F. Schettino

Abstract

This paper advances the hypothesis that Nigeria is going through a process of economic polarization. The notion of polarization is concerned with the disappearance or non‐consolidation of the middle class, which occurs when there is a tendency to concentrate in the tails, rather than the middle, of the income/consumption distribution. This paper uses newly available data and the relative distribution methodology (Handcock and Morris, 1998, 1999) to present new results on polarization. The findings confirm the sharp increase of polarization. Compared to 2003, the distribution of consumption has become more concentrated in upper and lower deciles in 2013, while the middle deciles have thinned. A between‐group analysis shows the emergence of a macro‐regional gap: while the South‐South and South‐West regions contribute mainly to polarization in the upper tail, households in the North East and North West zones—the conflict‐stricken areas—are more likely to fall in the lower national deciles.

Suggested Citation

  • F. Clementi & A. L. Dabalen & V. Molini & F. Schettino, 2017. "When the Centre Cannot Hold: Patterns of Polarization in Nigeria," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 63(4), pages 608-632, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:63:y:2017:i:4:p:608-632
    DOI: 10.1111/roiw.12212
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    2. Jules Baleyte & Amory Gethin & Yajna Govind & Thomas Piketty, 2020. "Social Inequalities and the Politicization of Ethnic Cleavages in Botswana, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal, 1999-2019," PSE Working Papers halshs-03022210, HAL.
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    4. Schettino, Francesco & Khan, Haider A., 2020. "Income polarization in the USA: What happened to the middle class in the last few decades?," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 149-161.
    5. Odozi, John Chiwuzulum & Oyelere, Ruth Uwaifo, 2019. "Conflict Exposure and Economic Welfare in Nigeria," GLO Discussion Paper Series 334, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
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    7. Chiara Assunta Ricci & Sergio Scicchitano, 2021. "Decomposing changes in income polarization by population group: what happened during the crisis?," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 38(1), pages 235-259, April.
    8. World Bank, 2016. "Poverty Reduction in Nigeria in the Last Decade," World Bank Publications - Reports 25825, The World Bank Group.
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