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Is inequality in Africa really different ?

  • Milanovic, Branko

High inequality in Africa is something of a paradox: Africa should be a low-inequality continent according to the Kuznets hypothesis (because African countries are poor and agriculture-based), and also because land (the main asset) is widely shared. The author's hypothesis is that African inequality is politically determined. Yet in the empirical analysis, despite the introduction of several political variables, there is still an inequality-increasing"Africa effect"linked to ethnic fractionalization. The politics, however, may work through ethnic fractionalization, which provides an easy and secure basis for the formation of political groups. Although this is a plausible explanation, it is not fully satisfactory, and the author criticizes it in the concluding section.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3169.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2003
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3169
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  1. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1997. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," NBER Working Papers 6009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Branko milanovic, 2003. "True world income distribution, 1988 and 1993: First calculation based on household surveys alo," HEW 0305002, EconWPA.
  4. John Luiz, 2006. "The New Partnership for African Development: questions regarding Africa's response to its underdevelopment," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(2), pages 223-236.
  5. Janvier D. Nkurunziza & Floribert Ngaruko, 2002. "Explaining growth in Burundi: 1960-2000," CSAE Working Paper Series 2002-03, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  6. Steven N. Durlauf, 2002. "On the Empirics of Social Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 459-479, November.
  7. Branko Milanovic & Mark Gradstein & Yvonne Ying, 2003. "Democracy, Ideology And Income Inequality: An Empirical Analysis," Public Economics 0305002, EconWPA.
  8. Milanovic, Branko, 1999. "True world income distribution, 1988 and 1993 - first calculations, based on household surveys alone," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2244, The World Bank.
  9. Beck, Thorsten & Clarke, George & Groff, Alberto & Keefer, Philip & Walsh, Patrick, 2000. "New tools and new tests in comparative political economy - the database of political institutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2283, The World Bank.
  10. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  11. Demery, Lionel & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "Macroeconomic Adjustment and Poverty in Africa: An Emerging Picture," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 39-59, February.
  12. Alesina, Alberto & Spolaore, Enrico, 1997. "On the Number and Size of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-56, November.
  13. Stephen D. Behrendt & David Eltis & David Richardson, 2001. "The Costs of Coercion: African Agency in the Pre-Modern Atlantic World," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 54(3), pages 454-476, 08.
  14. Oleksiy Ivaschenko, 2002. "Growth and Inequality: Evidence from Transitional Economies," CESifo Working Paper Series 746, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. Janvier Nkurunziza & Floribert Ngaruko, 2002. "Explaining Growth in Burundi: 1960-2000," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2002-03, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  16. Anthony Annett, 2000. "Social Fractionalization, Political Instability, and the Size of Government," IMF Working Papers 00/82, International Monetary Fund.
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