Inequality of Opportunity in Income and Consumption: The Middle East and North Africa Region in Comparative Perspective - Economic Research Forum (ERF)

Inequality of Opportunity in Income and Consumption: The Middle East and North Africa Region in Comparative Perspective

Ragui Assaad, Caroline Krafft, John Roemer and Djavad Salehi-Isfahani


Date:
May, 2016

NO.
1003

Length:
33 pages

Topic:
D3. Distribution
E2. Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy
D6. Welfare Economics
O1. Economic Development

Social justice has been a central theme in the political turmoil affecting the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Perplexingly, standard measures of inequality are not particularly high for MENA countries. One possible explanation for this apparent contradiction is that observed inequality may be masking a large share of inequality of opportunity, the unjustifiable type of inequality associated with social class or other circumstances over which an individual has no control. In this paper we extend the literature on inequality of opportunity in the MENA region by providing estimates of inequality of opportunity in incomes and consumption for Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia. Our results show low levels of inequality of opportunity, as well as inequality, in income measures in the countries examined.

ملخص

العدالة الاجتماعية هى موضوعا مركزيا في الاضطرابات السياسية التي تؤثر على الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا. وبشكل مربك، فان القياسات المعيارية لعدم المساواة ليست مرتفعة ولا سيما بالنسبة لبلدان المنطقة. أحد التفسيرات المحتملة لهذا التناقض الواضح هو أن عدم المساواة الملحوظة يمكن أن تخفي جزءا كبيرا من عدم تكافؤ الفرص، ونوع غير مبرر من عدم المساواة المرتبطة بالطبقة الاجتماعية أو الظروف الأخرى التي تقع للفرد والتى تخرج عن سيطرته. في هذه الورقة نتقدم الأدبيات الخاصة بعدم تكافؤ الفرص في منطقة الشرق الأوسط من خلال تقديم تقديرات عدم تكافؤ الفرص في الدخول والاستهلاك بالنسبة لمصر والأردن وتونس. نتائجنا تظهر مستويات منخفضة من عدم تكافؤ الفرص، فضلا عن عدم المساواة في تدابير الدخل في البلدان التي تم فحصها

Research Fellows

Ragui Assaad

Professor of Planning and Public Affairs, University of Minnesota


Authors

Caroline Krafft

Assistant Professor of economics at St. Catherine University


Authors

John Roemer

Professor of Political Science & Economics at Yale University


Research Fellows

Djavad Salehi-Isfahani

Professor, Virginia Tech University


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