Chapter 10Income Inequality in Colonial Africa: Methods and History

Download Chapter 10


Federico Tadei


This chapter introduces students to the analysis of income inequality in colonial Africa, both from a methodological and a historical point of view. Following an introduction to inequality in Africa, the chapter presents the main theories used to interpret colonial income inequality. These theories are then brought to the data by describing which sources and indicators we can use to evaluate inequality in colonial Africa. Finally, a brief history of African income inequality under colonial rule discusses levels, trends, and main drivers. The chapter provides a number of exercises and suggests readings as well as a technical appendix, which can be helpful to students interested in the details of the calculation of inequality indicators.


Tadei, Federico (2024). “Income inequality in colonial Africa: Methods and History”, In Ewout Frankema, Ellen Hillbom, Ushehwedu Kufakurinani and Felix Meier zu Selhausen (eds.), The History of African Development: An Online Textbook for a New Generation of African Students and Teachers. African Economic History Network E-Book.