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Impact of Structural Change in Education, Industry and Infrastructure on Income Distribution in Sri Lanka


  • Ramani Gunatilaka
  • Duangkamon Chotikapanich


  • Brett Inder



Income inequality increased in Sri Lanka following trade liberalization in 1977. This study applies a semi-parametric method to investigate whether structural changes in education, industry and infrastructure access underlay the change in the distribution. The study finds that while the concentration of people shifted towards higher income ranges at every stage in the distribution between 1985 and 2002, changes in access to infrastructure triggered much of the shift. Higher levels of educational attainment also had an impact. But the middle classes appear to have benefited disproportionately more from the provision of education and infrastructure services than did the poor. The analysis recommends that such services are targeted more effectively towards those in the poorest income deciles to enable them to move out of poverty to higher income ranges.

Suggested Citation

  • Ramani Gunatilaka & Duangkamon Chotikapanich & Brett Inder, 2006. "Impact of Structural Change in Education, Industry and Infrastructure on Income Distribution in Sri Lanka," Monash Econometrics and Business Statistics Working Papers 21/06, Monash University, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics.
  • Handle: RePEc:msh:ebswps:2006-21

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Summers, Robert, 1973. "International Price Comparisons Based Upon Incomplete Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 19(1), pages 1-16, March.
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    3. Philippe Van Kerm, 2003. "Adaptive kernel density estimation," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 3(2), pages 148-156, June.
    4. Barrett, Garry F & Crossley, Thomas F & Worswick, Christopher, 2000. "Consumption and Income Inequality in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 76(233), pages 116-138, June.
    5. Bhalla, Surjit S & Glewwe, Paul, 1986. "Growth and Equity in Developing Countries: A Reinterpretation of the Sri Lankan Experience," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 1(1), pages 35-63, September.
    6. José Mata & José A. F. Machado, 2005. "Counterfactual decomposition of changes in wage distributions using quantile regression," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 445-465.
    7. Lerman, Robert I. & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1989. "Improving the accuracy of estimates of Gini coefficients," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 43-47, September.
    8. Angus Deaton & Salman Zaidi, 2002. "Guidelines for Constructing Consumption Aggregates for Welfare Analysis," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14101.
    9. D'Ambrosio, Conchita, 2001. "Household Characteristics and the Distribution of Income in Italy: An Application of Social Distance Measures," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 47(1), pages 43-64, March.
    10. Cameron, Lisa A., 2000. "Poverty and inequality in Java: examining the impact of the changing age, educational and industrial structure," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 149-180, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. S. R. Osmani, 2008. "The Demands of Inclusive Growth: Lessons from South Asia (The Mahbub Ul Haq Memorial Lecture)," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 47(4), pages 381-402.

    More about this item


    Income inequality; Sri Lanka; education; infrastructure; kernel density decomposition;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

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