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Reconstructing income inequality in a colonial cash crop economy: five social tables for Uganda, 1925–1965

Long-term trends in income inequality: winners and losers of economic change in Ghana, 1891–1960

Michiel de Haas

European Review of Economic History, 2022, vol. 26, issue 2, 255-283

Abstract: This study contributes to an expanding literature on historical African inequality, presenting five social tables and income inequality estimates for Uganda between 1925 and 1965. I find that income inequality was mostly stable and overall low compared to other African colonies. Decomposition reveals important underlying fault lines and shifts. Income gaps between the African majority and a tiny Asian and European income elite accounted for a large share of overall inequality. Over time, inequality among Africans increased. Income from self-provisioning was a major equalizer in Uganda’s economy, which was characterized by land abundance and widespread smallholder cultivation of labor-intensive export crops.

Date: 2022
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Handle: RePEc:oup:ereveh:v:26:y:2022:i:2:p:255-283.