Inequality and Income Mobility in Egypt - Economic Research Forum (ERF)

Inequality and Income Mobility in Egypt

Mona Said, Rami Galal and Mina Sami

November, 2019


Economic Research Forum

D3. Distribution
J3. Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
E2. Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy
O1. Economic Development

This paper explores trends in wage and income levels and inequality and mobility in Egypt, especially since 2012. Data are from the 1998, 2006, 2012, and 2018 waves of the Egypt Labor Market Panel Survey (ELMPS). The findings point to declining real wages and incomes and a rise in inequality between 2012 and 2018. As a result, the share of wage workers below the low waged line (the working poor) has increased, especially for older workers, workers with higher education, and government workers. Circumstances, such as parental background and area of birth, have continued to play an important role in determining individuals’ wages. Focusing on the panel of individuals present in multiple waves of the survey, mobility since 2006 has remained mostly unchanged. The wage workers who tended to fare better from 2012 to 2018 were males, those in the public sector, and those with higher skills and education, however the differences across subgroups were not large. The deteriorating relative wage position of women in the private sector and increase in the working poor as a result of real wage declines require policy action to reverse those trends.

Research Fellows

Mona Said

Assistant Professor of Economics, Economics Department, The American University in Cairo

Research Associates

Rami Galal

Assistant Professor, American University in Cairo


Mina Sami

Advisor/Economist with the Delta Research Center in Cairo



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