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Inequalities and equity in Africa


  • Denis Cogneau

    () (DIAL, IRD, Paris)

  • Thomas Bossuroy

    () (EHESS, DIAL, IRD, Paris)

  • Philippe De Vreyer

    () (Université de Lille II, DIAL)

  • Charlotte Guénard

    () (DIAL)

  • Victor Hiller

    () (DIAL, Université Paris-I)

  • Phillippe Leite

    () (EHESS, DIAL, Paris)

  • Sandrine Mesplé-Somps

    () (DIAL, IRD, Paris)

  • Laure Pasquier-Doumer

    () (DIAL, IEP-Paris)

  • Constance Torelli

    () (DIAL)


A new analysis of large-sample surveys in five comparable Sub-Saharan African countries allows measuring for the first time inequality of opportunity in Africa, aside inequality of resources and of living standards. We confirm the prevalence of high levels of inequality among the region’s countries. Yet we also find considerable differences in the structures of this inequality. Furthermore, intergenerational educational and occupational mobility and the equality of opportunity for income between social origins are quite definitely greater in countries where income inequality is lower, such as Ghana and Uganda, than in higher-inequality countries such as Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Madagascar. _________________________________ Une exploitation nouvelle d’enquêtes à large échantillon concernant cinq pays d’Afrique subsaharienne permet pour la première fois de mesurer l’inégalité des chances en Afrique, à côté des inégalités de ressources et de conditions de vie. Nous confirmons l’existence d’inégalités prononcées au sein des pays de cette région, mais nous révélons aussi de fortes différences dans les structures de ces inégalités. L’essentiel de ces différences provient des écarts de revenu entre l’agriculture et les autres secteurs, et de l’échelle des rémunérations non agricoles. Au Ghana ou en Ouganda, la mobilité intergénérationnelle scolaire et professionnelle et l’égalité des chances devant le revenu entre les différentes origines sociales sont nettement plus fortes que dans les pays plus inégalitaires que sont la Côte d’Ivoire, la Guinée et Madagascar.

Suggested Citation

  • Denis Cogneau & Thomas Bossuroy & Philippe De Vreyer & Charlotte Guénard & Victor Hiller & Phillippe Leite & Sandrine Mesplé-Somps & Laure Pasquier-Doumer & Constance Torelli, 2006. "Inequalities and equity in Africa," Working Papers DT/2006/11, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  • Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt200611

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    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Bossuroy, 2011. "Ethnicity and Election Outcomes in Ghana," Working Papers DT/2011/05, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    2. Giovanni Andrea Cornia, "undated". "An econometric analysis of the bifurcation of within-country inequality trends in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1990–2011," UNDP Africa Policy Notes 2016-04, United Nations Development Programme, Regional Bureau for Africa.
    3. Léo Czajka, 2020. "Income Inequality in Côte d'Ivoire: 1985-2014," World Inequality Lab Working Papers halshs-02659230, HAL.
    4. Guido Alfani & Federico Tadei, 2017. "Income Inequality in Colonial Africa: Building Social Tables for Pre-Independence Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, and Senegal," Working Papers 594, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    5. Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Jérémie Gignoux, 2011. "The Measurement Of Inequality Of Opportunity: Theory And An Application To Latin America," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 57(4), pages 622-657, December.
    6. Ashish Singh, 2011. "Gender based intra-household inequality of opportunity in academic skills among Indian children," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 31(3), pages 2333-2346.
    7. Laure Pasquier-Doumer, 2013. "Intergenerational Transmission of Self-Employed Status in the Informal Sector: A Constrained Choice or Better Income Prospects? Evidence from Seven West African Countries," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 22(1), pages 73-111, January.
    8. Laure Pasquier-Doumer, 2013. "Intergenerational Transmission of Self-Employed Status in the Informal Sector: A Constrained Choice or Better Income Prospects? Evidence from seven West-African Countries," Post-Print hal-01651028, HAL.
    9. Léo Czajka, 2017. "Income Inequality in Côte d'Ivoire: 1985-2014," Working Papers 201708, World Inequality Lab.
    10. repec:dau:papers:123456789/6268 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Bigsten, Arne, 2014. "Dimensions of African inequality," WIDER Working Paper Series 050, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    12. Abras, Ana & Cuesta, Jose, 2011. "Equality of opportunities, redistribution and fiscal policies : the case of Liberia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5801, The World Bank.
    13. Léo Czajka, 2020. "Income Inequality in Côte d'Ivoire: 1985-2014," Working Papers halshs-02659230, HAL.
    14. repec:dau:papers:123456789/11239 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:dau:papers:123456789/7080 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Calvès, Anne E. & Kobiané, Jean-François & N’Bouké, Afiwa, 2013. "Privatization of Education and Labor Force Inequality in Urban Francophone Africa: The Transition from School to Work in Ouagadougou," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 136-148.
    17. James K. Galbraith & Beatrice Halbach & Aleksandra Malinowska & Amin Shams & Wenjie Zhang, 2015. "The UTIP Global Inequality Datasets: 1963-2008," WIDER Working Paper Series 019, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

    More about this item


    Inégalités de revenu; Égalité des chances; Mobilité intergénérationnelle; Afrique; Income inequality; equality of opportunity; intergenerational mobility; Africa.;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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