Social well-being inequality in Africa

Stephanié Rossouw, Talita Greyling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In this paper, we construct a composite social well-being index to investigate disparities between 30 African countries. We do this because previous inequality studies relied on income measures; however, when it comes to Africa, specifically, income is not an adequate measure to capture well-being. Furthermore, we apply the recentered influence function (RIF) method to regress the variance of social well-being on likely influencing factors. Lastly, we use the Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition technique to investigate the gap between countries with higher, and those with lower levels of social well-being. The results indicate that there are high levels of inequality; however, the inequality in social well-being is less stark than in income. Factors that are significantly related to inequality are employment, gender equality, exports, CO2 emissions, population density, public protests, capital investment, and internet access. The gap that exists between higher and lower social well-being countries is mainly due to the endowment effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)896-918
Number of pages23
JournalDevelopment Southern Africa
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Africa
  • Composite index
  • decomposition
  • inequality
  • social well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development


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