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Determinants of the Evolution of Inequality in Africa

Journal article
Authors Arne Bigsten
Published in Journal of African Economies
Volume 27
Issue 1
Pages 127-148
ISSN 0963-8024
Publication year 2018
Published at Gothenburg Centre for Globalization and Development (GCGD)
Department of Economics
Pages 127-148
Language en
Keywords Income Distribution, Structural change, Employment, African
Subject categories Economics


Most African countries inherited a dual economic structure and high levels of inequality from the colonial times, and inequality has remained high since independence. The pattern of structural change in Africa has implied a shift of labour out of agriculture, but since the movers have mostly been absorbed into low-paying, often informal activities, this transformation has not led to a significantly lower overall inequality. A change of the structure of the economy leading to an expansion of better-paying jobs requires higher rates of investment.

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