Is Inequality in Africa Really Different?

44 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Branko Milanovic

Branko Milanovic

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG); University of Maryland

Date Written: November 18, 2003

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. Milanovic'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.

This paper - a product of the Poverty Team, Development Research Group - is part of a larger effort in the group to study inequality in the world.

Suggested Citation

Milanovic, Branko, Is Inequality in Africa Really Different? (November 18, 2003). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=636588

Branko Milanovic (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/bmilanovic

University of Maryland ( email )

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