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Is inequality in Africa really different ?

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  • Milanovic, Branko

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Milanovic, Branko, 2003. "Is inequality in Africa really different ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3169, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3169
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Branko Milanovic, 2002. "True World Income Distribution, 1988 and 1993: First Calculation Based on Household Surveys Alone," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 51-92, January.
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    5. 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, August.
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    9. Tony Addison & S. Mansoob Murshed, 2003. "Debt Relief and Civil War," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 40(2), pages 159-176, March.
    10. Oleksiy Ivaschenko, 2002. "Growth and Inequality: Evidence from Transitional Economies," CESifo Working Paper Series 746, CESifo Group Munich.
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    13. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Oya, Carlos., 2010. "Rural inequality, wage employment and labour market formation in Africa : historical and micro-level evidence," ILO Working Papers 994582213402676, International Labour Organization.
    2. Shimeles Abebe & Tiguéné Nabassaga, 2017. "Working Paper 246 - Why is inequality high in Africa?," Working Paper Series 2355, African Development Bank.
    3. Moradi, Alexander & Baten, Joerg, 2005. "Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa: New Data and New Insights from Anthropometric Estimates," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1233-1265, August.
    4. repec:ilo:ilowps:458221 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Fosu, Augustin Kwasi, 2010. "Does inequality constrain poverty reduction programs? Evidence from Africa," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 818-827, November.
    6. Pellicer, Miquel, 2009. "Inequality persistence through vertical vs. horizontal coalitions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 258-266, November.
    7. Awaworyi Churchill, Sefa & Smyth, Russell, 2017. "Ethnic Diversity and Poverty," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 285-302.
    8. Pinto Moreira, Emmanuel & Bayraktar, Nihal, 2005. "A macroeconomic framework for quantifying growth and poverty reduction strategies in Niger," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3506, The World Bank.
    9. Sindzingre, Alice, 2005. "Explaining Threshold Effects of Globalization on Poverty: An Institutional Perspective," WIDER Working Paper Series 053, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    10. Parcero, Osiris J. & Papyrakis, Elissaios, 2016. "Income inequality and the oil resource curse," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 159-177.
    11. Murshed, S. Mansoob, 2004. "When Does Natural Resource Abundance Lead to a Resource Curse?," Discussion Papers 24137, International Institute for Environment and Development, Environmental Economics Programme.
    12. Delfin Go & Denis Nikitin & Xiongjian Wang & Heng-fu Zou, 2007. "Poverty and Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa: Literature Survey and Empirical Assessment," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 8(2), pages 251-304, November.

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