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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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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/roiw.12212
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    1. Paul Andres Corral Rodas & Vasco Molini & Gbemisola Oseni, 2019. "No Condition is Permanent: Middle Class in Nigeria in the Last Decade," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(2), pages 294-310, February.
    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.
    3. Khan, Haider Ali & Schettino, Francesco & Gabriele, Alberto, 2017. "Polarization and the Middle Class in China: a Non-Parametric Evaluation Using CHNS and CHIP Data," MPRA Paper 86133, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    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).
    6. World Bank, 2016. "Poverty Reduction in Nigeria in the Last Decade," World Bank Other Operational Studies 25825, The World Bank.
    7. Clementi,F. & Fabiani,M. & Molini,V., 2018. "The devil is in the details : growth, polarization, and poverty reduction in Africa in the past two decades," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8494, The World Bank.

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