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Household Expenditure Polarization: Evidence from The Arab Region

Listed author(s):
  • Ines Bouassida
  • AbdelRahmen El Lahga

    ()

    (Tunis Business School, University of Tunis, Tunisia)

This paper analyzes the trend and changes of household expenditure polarization in five Arab countries between 1975 and 2006. Applying a set of recent polarization measures developed by Duclos et al. (2004) and Wolfson (1994), we find that polarization remained stable in most countries except Yemen which witnessed a significant increase of polarization during the period 1998–2006. While bi-polarization evolves in the same direction as inequality, our empirical results show that polarization per se behaves differently from inequality. The decomposition of polarization by geographical region shows that in all five countries’ household expenditures are spatially polarized, where nearly 80% of overall polarization is explained by intra-regional polarization.

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Paper provided by Economic Research Forum in its series Working Papers with number 559.

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Length: 24
Date of creation: 10 Jan 2010
Date of revision: 10 Jan 2010
Publication status: Published by The Economic Research Forum (ERF)
Handle: RePEc:erg:wpaper:559
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  1. Wang, You-Qiang & Tsui, Kai-Yuen, 2000. " Polarization Orderings and New Classes of Polarization Indices," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 2(3), pages 349-363.
  2. Wolfson, Michael C, 1994. "When Inequalities Diverge," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 353-358, May.
  3. Wolfson, Michael, 1997. "Divergent Inequalities - Theory and Empirical Results (Revised Edition)," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1997066e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  4. X. Zhang & R. Kanbur, 2001. "What Difference Do Polarisation Measures Make? An Application to China," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(3), pages 85-98.
  5. Roland Benabou, 2000. "Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 96-129, March.
  6. Abdelkrim Araar, 2008. "On the Decomposition of Polarization Indices: Illustrations with Chinese and Nigerian Household Surveys," Cahiers de recherche 0806, CIRPEE.
  7. Wolfson, Michael C, 1997. "Divergent Inequalities: Theory and Empirical Results," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 43(4), pages 401-421, December.
  8. Easterly, William, 2001. "The Middle Class Consensus and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 317-335, December.
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