Income Inequality Trends in sub-Saharan Africa: Divergence, determinants and consequences: Inequality Levels, Trends and Determinants in sub-Saharan Africa: An Overview of main changes since the early 1990s

The last decade has witnessed a renewed interest in the issue of inequality. First, the liberalisation of the 1980s and 1990s led in several cases to a surge in inequality. Second, a growing body of literature has documented the detrimental effects of inequality on longterm growth, poverty, intergenerational mobility, health status, crime rate and political stability. Third, inclusion of inequality among the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has de facto opened the door to scrutiny of the inequality-growth-poverty nexus. Indeed, as shown by Bourguignon (2003) and others, growth elasticity of poverty reduction depends on the initial level of inequality and its change over time. For instance, in Latin America, 40.0 per cent of the poverty decline over 2002-2012 was due to the decline in income inequality. Fourth, greater availability of survey data has made analysis of inequality levels, trends and determinants more practicable than in the past. In addition, recent analyses of health and education inequality and wealth distribution have contributed to the understanding of the interaction among wealth, income, education and health inequality. As a result, policy circles are now paying growing attention to this issue, including in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) where this debate had received limited attention until the last decade.

Issue Date:
Aug 01 2017
Publication Type:
Book/ Chapter
Total Pages:

 Record created 2018-02-01, last modified 2018-02-02

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