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Asset Inequality in MENA - The Missing Dimension?

Published in April 2018. Written by Vladimir Hlasny and Shireen AlAzzawi

Wealth must be accounted for as an economic outcome as well as a driver of lifetime opportunities. Since wealth is distributed more widely, and is related positively to income and consumption, overall inequality is likely to exceed inequality measured by income or consumption alone. We use panel surveys and wealth indexes based on productive and non-productive household assets to examine economic inequality in four MENA countries – Egypt, Ethiopia, Jordan and Tunisia. Wealth distribution and households’ economic mobility are evaluated across surveys. To mitigate ordinality of wealth indexes, they are benchmarked by applying relative asset prices estimated in one survey to other surveys.


Inequality in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is low compared to other developing regions, and has been declining over time. Bibi and Nabli (2010) reviewed the evidence of inequality in the region and concluded that MENA countries in particular fall within the range of countries with moderate inequality, when compared to other regions such as East Asia, Latin America, South Asia and Sub Saharan Africa.

Thursday, April 12th 2018
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