Inequality in sub-Saharan Africa: a synthesis of recent research on the levels, trends, effects and determinants of inequality in its different dimensions.

Abstract

This paper reviews recent research on income and non-income inequalities within countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It concentrates on research conducted by national and regional institutions and by international agencies in the region. This synthesis focuses on inequality in both income and non-income dimensions of wellbeing in sub-Saharan Africa, and on research carried out under each of the following headings: The extent of inequality in income and non-income measures of wellbeing; Trends in inequality in income and non-income measures of wellbeing; The effects of inequality on rates of economic growth and progress toward the MDGs; The determinants of inequality, both in terms of differences between countries and changes within countries over time. Specifically, Section 2 reviews empirical studies of inequalities within countries in sub-Saharan Africa in levels of income/expenditure, assets, education, health and nutrition, use of public service, wages and employment. Section 3 reviews similar evidence on recent trends in these inequalities. Section 4 then reviews evidence on the effects of inequality, and on economic growth and poverty reduction, including a discussion of the 'growth-equity' trade-off. Section 5 reviews evidence on the determinants of inequality in Africa, both in terms of reasons for differences in levels of inequality between countries in the region, and reasons for recent changes in inequality within countries in the region. Section 6 summarises and concludes the paper.

Citation

Overseas Development Institute, UK, ISBN: 0 85003 783 2, 40 pp.

Inequality in sub-Saharan Africa: a synthesis of recent research on the levels, trends, effects and determinants of inequality in its different dimensions.

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