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Inequality of Opportunity for Income in Five Countries of Africa

Author

Listed:
  • Denis Cogneau

    () (DIAL, IRD, Paris)

  • Sandrine Mesplé-Somps

    () (DIAL, IRD, Paris)

Abstract

This paper examines for the first time inequality of opportunity for income in Africa, by analyzing large-sample surveys, all providing information on individuals' parental background, in five comparable Sub-Saharan countries: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Madagascar and Uganda. We compute inequality of opportunity indexes in keeping with the main proposals in the literature, and propose a decomposition of between-country differences that distinguishes the respective impacts of intergenerational mobility between social origins and positions, of the distribution of education and occupations, and of the earnings structure. Among our five countries, Ghana in 1988 has by far the lowest income inequality between individuals of different social origins, while Madagascar in 1993 displays the highest inequality of opportunity from the same point of view. Ghana in 1998, Ivory Coast in 1985-88, Guinea in 1994 and Uganda in 1992 stand in-between and can not be ranked without ambiguity. Inequality of opportunity for income seems to correlate with overall income inequality more than with national average income. Decompositions reveal that the two former British colonies (Ghana and Uganda) share a much higher intergenerational educational and occupational mobility than the three former French colonies. Further, Ghana distinguishes itself from the four other countries, because of the combination of widespread secondary schooling, low returns to education and low income dualism against agriculture. Nevertheless, it displays marked regional inequality insofar as being born in the Northern part of this country produces a significant restriction of income opportunities. _________________________________ Ce papier analyse, pour la première fois en Afrique, les inégalités de chance en termes de revenu. Cinq pays sont étudiés, à savoir la Côte d’Ivoire, le Ghana, la Guinée, Madagascar et l’Ouganda à partir d’enquêtes représentatives au niveau national contenant des informations sur les origines sociales de chaque individu. Nous calculons les différents indices d’inégalités de chance proposés par la littérature et nous proposons une décomposition des différences d’inégalités de chance entre pays. Cette décomposition distingue les influences respectives des différences dans la mobilité sociale intergénérationnelle, dans la structure de l'éducation et des professions et enfin dans les échelles de rémunération. Il apparaît que parmi les cinq pays étudiés, le Ghana en 1988 est le pays dans lequel l'inégalité de revenu entre origines sociales est la plus faible, tandis que c’est à Madagascar en 1993 qu’elle est la plus élevée. Les positions intermédiaires respectives du Ghana en 1998, de la Côte d'Ivoire en 1985-88, de la Guinée en 1994 et de l’Ouganda en 1992 ne peuvent pas être classées de manière robuste. L'inégalité des chances en termes de revenu semble plus corrélée avec l'inégalité de revenu globale qu’avec le niveau de revenu moyen par tête. La décomposition des inégalités de chances montre que la mobilité intergénérationnelle est plus élevée dans les deux anciennes colonies britanniques (le Ghana et l’Ouganda) que dans les trois anciennes colonies françaises. De plus, le Ghana se distingue des quatre autres pays par une plus large diffusion de l’enseignement primaire et secondaire, des rendements bas de l’éducation, et un faible dualisme entre le secteur agricole et les autres secteurs. Il n’en demeure pas moins que le fait d’être né au Nord du pays diminue fortement les opportunités de revenu, de même qu'en Côte d'Ivoire.

Suggested Citation

  • Denis Cogneau & Sandrine Mesplé-Somps, 2008. "Inequality of Opportunity for Income in Five Countries of Africa," Working Papers DT/2008/04, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  • Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt200804
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    Cited by:

    1. Brunori, Paolo & Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Peragine, Vito, 2013. "Inequality of opportunity, income inequality and economic mobility : some international comparisons," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6304, The World Bank.
    2. X. Ramos & D. Van De Gaer, 2012. "Empirical Approaches to Inequality of Opportunity: Principles, Measures, and Evidence," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 12/792, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    3. Joseph J. Capuno & Aleli D. Kraft, 2010. "Household choices, circumstances and equity of access to basic health and education services in the Philippines," UP School of Economics Discussion Papers 201011, University of the Philippines School of Economics.
    4. John E. Roemer & Alain Trannoy, 2016. "Equality of Opportunity: Theory and Measurement," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1288-1332, December.
    5. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Peragine, Vito, 2015. "Equality of Opportunity: Theory and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 8994, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Denis Cogneau & Léa Rouanet, 2009. "Living Conditions in Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Western Africa 1925-1985: What Do Survey Data on Height Stature Tell Us?," Working Papers DT/2009/12, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    7. Jean-François Carpantier & Christelle Sapata, 2013. "An Ex-Post View of Inequality of Opportunity in France and its Regions," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 281-311, September.
    8. Cuesta, Jose, 2014. "Social Spending, Distribution, and Equality of Opportunities: The Opportunity Incidence Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 106-124.
    9. CARPANTIER, Jean-François & SAPATA, Christelle, 2012. "Unfair inequalities in France: A regional comparison," CORE Discussion Papers 2012038, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    10. KUEPIE Mathias & NOUETAGNI Samuel, 2013. "Socioeconomic background, human capital and youth employment: the case of a medium-sized Cameroonian city (Bafia)," LISER Working Paper Series 2013-09, LISER.
    11. repec:sbe:breart:v:30:y:2010:i:2:a:3687 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Ana Suárez Álvarez & Ana Jesús López Menéndez, 2016. "Inequality of opportunity and income inequality in Spain: An analysis over time," Working Papers 423, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    13. Pedro Olinto & Jaime Saavedra, 2012. "An Overview of Global Income Inequality Trends," World Bank - Inequality in Focus, The World Bank, vol. 1(1), pages 1-4, April.
    14. Denis COGNEAU, 2012. "The Political Dimension Of Inequality During Economic Development," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 35, pages 11-36.
    15. Zhang, Yingqiang & Eriksson, Tor, 2010. "Inequality of opportunity and income inequality in nine Chinese provinces, 1989-2006," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 607-616, December.
    16. 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.
    17. repec:dau:papers:123456789/4302 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Francisco H.G. Ferreira, 2012. "Inequality of Opportunity Around the World: What Do We Know So Far?," World Bank - Inequality in Focus, The World Bank, vol. 1(1), pages 8-11, April.
    19. Luis F. Lopez-Calva, 2012. "Declining Income Inequality in Brazil: The Proud Outlier," World Bank - Inequality in Focus, The World Bank, vol. 1(1), pages 5-8, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Income inequality; Equality of opportunity; Intergenerational mobility; Africa; inégalité de revenu; égalité de chance; mobilité intergénérationnelle; Afrique.;

    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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