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Inequality of opportunity in Sub-Saharan Africa

Working Paper 2016-390


In the last decades inequality of opportunity has been extensively studied by economists, on the assumption that, in addition to being normatively undesirable, it can be related to low potential for growth. In this paper we evaluate inequality of opportunity in 11 Sub-Saharan Africa countries. According to our results, the portion of total inequality which can be attributed to exogenous circumstances is between 30% and 40% for the generality of countries considered. We also find a positive association between total consumption inequality and inequality of opportunity and we study the different sources of unequal opportunities. Finally, we address a number of methodological issues that typically arise when measuring inequality of opportunity with imperfect data, which is the typical case in developing countries.

Authors: Paolo Brunori, Flaviana Palmisano, Vito Peragine.

Keywords: Consumption inequality, equality of opportunity, Sub-Saharan Africa.
JEL: D63, E24, O15, O40.