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


  • Mthuli Ncube


  • John Anyanwu


  • Kjell Hausken


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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  • Mthuli Ncube & John Anyanwu & Kjell Hausken, 2014. "Working Paper 195 - Inequality, Economic Growth, and Poverty in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)," Working Paper Series 999, African Development Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:adb:adbwps:999

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    Cited by:

    1. Simplice A. Asongu & Jacinta C. Nwachukwu, 2016. "Mobile Phone Penetration, Mobile Banking and Inclusive Development in Africa," The African Finance Journal, Africagrowth Institute, vol. 18(1), pages 34-52.
    2. Simplice Asongu, 2015. "Rational Asymmetric Development: Transfer Mispricing and Sub-Saharan Africa’s Extreme Poverty Tragedy," Working Papers 15/054, African Governance and Development Institute., revised Aug 2015.
    3. repec:bpj:maneco:v:4:y:2017:i:1:p:24:n:3 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Asongu, Simplice & Asongu, Ndemaze, 2017. "Comparative Determinants of Quality of Growth in Developing Countries," MPRA Paper 80650, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Asongu, Simplice, 2014. "A brief clarification to the questionable economics of foreign aid for inclusive human development," MPRA Paper 64458, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Simplice Asongu & Oasis Kodila-Tedika, 2014. "Institutions and Poverty: A Critical Comment Based on Evolving Currents and Debates," Working Papers 14/031, African Governance and Development Institute..
    7. repec:bla:socsci:v:98:y:2017:i:1:p:282-298 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Oasis Kodila-Tedika & Simplice A. Asongu & Julio Mukendi Kayembe, 2016. "Middle Class in Africa: Determinants and Consequences," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(4), pages 527-549, October.
    9. Simplice Asongu & Uchenna Efobi & Ibukun Beecroft, 2015. "Inclusive Human Development in Pre-crisis Times of Globalization-driven Debts," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 27(4), pages 428-442, December.
    10. Asongu Simplice & Nwachukwu Jacinta, 2017. "Globalization and Inclusive Human Development in Africa," Man and the Economy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-24, June.
    11. Simplice Asongu & Ivo Leke, 2017. "External Flows and Inclusive Human Development in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 17/058, African Governance and Development Institute..
    12. Simplice A. Asongu & Jacinta C. Nwachukwu, 2017. "Foreign Aid and Inclusive Development: Updated Evidence from Africa, 2005–2012," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 98(1), pages 282-298, March.
    13. Asongu, Simplice A. & Nwachukwu, Jacinta C., 2017. "Quality of Growth Empirics: Comparative gaps, benchmarking and policy syndromes," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 861-882.
    14. repec:spr:soinre:v:134:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1467-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Simplice A. Asongu & Jacinta C. Nwachukwu, 2017. "The Comparative Inclusive Human Development of Globalisation in Africa," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 134(3), pages 1027-1050, December.
    16. repec:eee:ecanpo:v:55:y:2017:i:c:p:106-123 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Chong Hui Ling & Khalid Ahmed & Rusnah Muhamad & Muhammad Shahbaz & Nanthakumar Loganathan, 2017. "Testing the Social Cost of Rapid Economic Development in Malaysia: The Effect of Trade on Life Expectancy," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 130(3), pages 1005-1023, February.

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