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South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences

On-line version ISSN 1015-8812

Abstract

HARRIS, Geoff  and  VERMAAK, Claire. Economic inequality as a source of interpersonal violence: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa and South Africa. S. Afr. j. econ. manag. sci. [online]. 2015, vol.18, n.1, pp. 45-57. ISSN 1015-8812.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2222-3436/2015/v18n1a4.

This article examines whether the close association of income inequality and violence identified for high income countries applies also to sub-Saharan Africa and, in particular, to South Africa. Cross sectional analysis across sub-Saharan countries provided no evidence of such an association. However, using homicide rates and several measures of inequality across South Africa's 52 districts does provide evidence of a significant positive relationship between homicide rates and expenditure inequality. A one per cent increase in inequality is associated with an increase in the homicide rate of 2.3 to 2.5 per cent. This relationship remains significant after controlling for other characteristics of the district.

Keywords : violence; income inequality; expenditure inequality; sub-Saharan Africa; South Africa.

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