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Inequality of opportunity in sub-Saharan Africa

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  • Paolo Brunori
  • Flaviana Palmisano
  • Vitorocco Peragine

Abstract

Inequality of opportunity is defined as the difference in individuals’ outcome systematically correlated with morally irrelevant pre-determined circumstances, such as ethnicity, socio-economic background, area of birth. This definition has been extensively studied by economists on the assumption that, in addition to being normatively undesirable, it can be related to low potentials for growth. However, empirical estimations of inequality of opportunity require accessing rich data sources, rarely available in poorer countries. In this paper, we exploit 13 consumption household surveys to evaluate inequality of opportunity in 10 Sub-Saharan African countries. According to our results, the portion of total inequality that can be attributed to exogenous circumstances is between 40% and 56% for the generality of countries. Our estimates are significantly higher than what has been found by previous studies. We detect a positive association between total consumption inequality and inequality of opportunity, and we study the different sources of unequal opportunities. The place of birth and the education of the father appear to exert the most relevant role in shaping inequality of opportunity in the region.

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo Brunori & Flaviana Palmisano & Vitorocco Peragine, 2019. "Inequality of opportunity in sub-Saharan Africa," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(60), pages 6428-6458, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:51:y:2019:i:60:p:6428-6458
    DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2019.1619018
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    Cited by:

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    2. David Pérez-Mesa & Gustavo A. Marrero & Sara Darias-Curvo, 2020. "Child health inequality and opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 557, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    3. Kartseva, Marina & Kuznetsova, Polina, 2020. "Is income inequality fair in Russia? Inequality of opportunity and income inequality," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 58, pages 5-31.
    4. Marc Fleurbaey & Vito Peragine & Xavier Ramos, 2017. "Ex post inequality of opportunity comparisons," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 49(3), pages 577-603, December.
    5. Guenther, Isabel & Tetteh-Baah, Samuel Kofi, 2019. "The impact of discrimination on redistributive preferences and productivity: experimental evidence from the United States," VfS Annual Conference 2019 (Leipzig): 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Democracy and Market Economy 203652, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Paolo Brunori & Vito Peragine & Laura Serlenga, 2019. "Upward and downward bias when measuring inequality of opportunity," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 52(4), pages 635-661, April.
    7. Tetteh-Baah, Samuel Kofi & Günther, Isabel, 2020. "The impact of gender and ethnic discrimination on redistribution and productivity," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224633, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Flaviana Palmisano & Vito Peragine & Federico Biagi, 2019. "Inequality of opportunity in tertiary education in Europe," JRC Working Papers JRC118543, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    9. Pérez-Mesa, David & Marrero, Gustavo A. & Darias-Curvo, Sara, 2021. "Child health inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa," MPRA Paper 108801, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Maurizio Bussolo & Daniele Checchi & Vito Peragine, 2018. "The long term evolution of inequality of opportunity," LIS Working papers 730, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    11. Leopoldo Cabrera & Gustavo A. Marrero & Juan Gabriel Rodríguez & Pedro Salas-Rojo, 2021. "Inequality of Opportunity in Spain: New Insights from New Data," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 237(2), pages 153-185, June.
    12. Monserrat Serio, 2021. "Desempeño educativo de los estudiantes en Argentina: Una mirada a la desigualdad de oportunidades del sistema educativo a partir de su medición y descomposición," Working Papers 86, Red Nacional de Investigadores en Economía (RedNIE).
    13. Paolo Brunori & Flaviana Palmisano & Vito Peragine, 2015. "Inequality of opportunity during the great recession in Uganda," WIDER Working Paper Series 039, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    14. Monica P. Lambon-Quayefio & Robert D. Osei & Abena D. Oduro & Isaac Osei Akoto, 2020. "Understanding the relationship between Consumption Inequality, Inequality of Opportunity and Education Outcomes in Ghana," Working Paper 7fb837eb-0c6e-4b0e-973b-7, Agence française de développement.
    15. Kristof Bosmans & Z. Emel Öztürk, 2021. "Measurement of inequality of opportunity: A normative approach," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 19(2), pages 213-237, June.
    16. Abebe Shimeles & Tiguene Nabassaga, 2018. "Why Is Inequality High in Africa?," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 27(1), pages 108-126.
    17. International Energy Agency & International Renewable Energy Agency & United Nations Statistics Division & World Bank & World Health Organization, "undated". "Tracking SDG 7," World Bank Publications - Reports 33822, The World Bank Group.
    18. Paul Hufe & Andreas Peichl & Daniel Weishaar, 2019. "Lower and Upper Bounds of Inequality of Opportunity in Emerging Economies," ifo Working Paper Series 301, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    19. Paolo Brunori & Flaviana Palmisano & Vito Peragine, 2015. "Inequality of Opportunity During the Great Recession in Uganda," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2015-039, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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