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

May, 2016


33 pages

D3. Distribution
D6. Welfare Economics
E2. Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy
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.


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


Caroline Krafft

Assistant Professor of economics at St. Catherine University


John Roemer

Professor of Political Science & Economics at Yale University

Research Fellows

Djavad Salehi-Isfahani

Professor, Virginia Tech University



There are no Events PAST

Related Publications

Working Papers

Youth Multidimensional Poverty and Its Dynamics: Evidence From Selected Countries In The Mena Region

Oznur Ozdamar and Eleftherios Giovanis

A broad consensus among the academic, and other national and international institutions is that poverty ... read more

Working Papers

Regional Employment Support Programmes And Multidimensional Poverty of Youth in Turkey

Eleftherios Giovanis and Oznur Ozdamar

Poverty has been ongoing for many years and still continues to exist in almost all ... read more

Working Papers

The Evolution of Wage Formation and Inequality in Jordan in 2010-2016

Rami Galal and Mona Said

This paper investigates wage formation and inequality in Jordan over the period 2010 to 2016 ... read more