Publications  Income Distribution


6. A dualistic socio-political structure, with an elite drawn from a different ethnic or racial group than the poor majority, makes for an unequal income distribution. One would expect a 'foreign' elite to be forceful in using its political power to assure itself a disproportionate share of income. Sociopolitical dualism differs analytically from economic dualism, usually defined in terms of a great gap between a high income modern sector and a low income traditional sector. Given this definition one would expect a near perfect correlation between economic dualism and inequality, but this conclusion approaches a tautology [see Adelman and Taft Morris (1973)]. Countries with socio-political dualism include: South Africa, Rhodesia, and several in Latin America where the elite is of European origin, the majority Indian, Mestizo and Black. The effects of socio-political dualism have been examined [Papanek (1975, 1978) and Bacha (1977)] but the variable has not been clearly defined or rigorously tested.


 In our regressions it appears to be a very significant (dummy) variable, but loses some of its importance and significance when economic and regional factors are added. A plausible explanation is that dualistic societies are concentrated in Africa and Latin America and affect income distribution in part through such indirect means as education and the allocation of the concentrated resources generated by primary exports. Therefore dualism may lose statistical, but not necessarily causal, significance when other variables are added.


Back to  Effects