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Top incomes in East Africa before and after independence

Abstract : This paper is concerned with the distribution of top incomes in former British colonial territories in East Africa: Kenya, Tanganyika/Tanzania, Uganda and Zanzibar. Its aim is to illuminate the position of colonial elites during the period of British rule and the extent to which they appropriated resources. Just how unequal were incomes? What was the distribution among the rich, mainly non-African, elite population? How did the position of the rich in these colonies compare with that of the rich in the United Kingdom? Secondly, how did income concentration evolve in the colonial period? Did inequality fall in the latter years of colonial rule, as the British government became more concerned with economic and social development? The third set of questions concerns the degree of inequality at independence. Tanzania became independent in 1961, followed by Uganda in 1962, and Kenya and Zanzibar in 1963. How far were there differences across different former colonies? Did some countries inherit a much more concentrated distribution, with implications for subsequent development? Were there differences between Kenya, where in 1949 the non-African population was 2.8 per cent, and Tanganyika and Uganda, where they were less than 1 per cent? Finally, the historical estimates provide a benchmark to consider the distribution of income in these countries today: Kenya, Tanzania (combining Tanganyika and Zanzibar) and Uganda.
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Anthony B Aktinson. Top incomes in East Africa before and after independence. 2015. ⟨halshs-02654566⟩

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