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Africa | Ghana
2018-01-25T16:16:40Z | 2018-01-25T16:16:40Z | 2018-02

Ghana is an exceptional case in the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) landscape. Together with a handful of other countries, Ghana offers the opportunity to analyze the distributional changes in the past two decades, since four comparable household surveys are available. In addition, unlike many other countries in SSA, Ghana’s rapid growth translated into fast poverty reduction. A closer look at the distributional changes that occurred in the same period, however, suggests less optimism. The present paper develops an innovative methodology to analyze the distributional changes that occurred and their drivers, with a high degree of accuracy and granularity. Looking at the results from 1991 to 2012, the paper documents how the distributional changes over time hollowed out the middle of the Ghanaian household consumption distribution and increased the concentration of households around the highest and lowest deciles; there was a clear surge in polarization indeed. When looking at the drivers of polarization, household characteristics, educational attainment, and access to basic infrastructure all tended to increase over time the size of the upper and lower tails of the consumption distribution and, as a consequence, the degree of polarization.


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