Relative Economic Performance. In The World: A Brief Look By Continent

A look at the changes in relative economic standing by continent reveals that during the analytical period the poorest continent was consistently Africa, with average Cg for 1990, 2000, and 2014 of 0.208, 0.226, and

0.259, respectively. The values of these coefficients for the relevant years reveal that, while the continental average value for GDP per capita was one fifth the world average in 1990, the gap was reduced over the following quarter century to 2014, as the coefficient rose from a fifth to a quarter. On the other hand, Africa is the only continent to have seen the gap between the richest 25% and the poorest 25% of countries on the continent itself increase (Table 3.4).

The continent with the smallest gap between the richest 25% and the poorest 25% ofcountries is South America, but one should remember that there are relatively few countries on the continent compared to either Asia or Europe (about a quarter). Even here, the gap between the richest 25% and the poorest 25% ofcountries went up, both in the last decade ofthe last century and the first fourteen years of this one. The most successful continent in reducing the gap between the richest 25% and the poorest 25%

Table 3.4 Average relative economic growth by continent: 1990-2000-2014

Continents

Year

1990

2000

2014

Africa

Average Cg

Top Quartile/Low Quartile Aver. Cg

  • 0.208
  • 14.9
  • 0.226
  • 19.6
  • 0.259
  • 20.2

Asia

Average Cg

Top Quartile/Low Quartile Aver. Cg

  • 1.050
  • 45.2
  • 1.237
  • 57.5
  • 1.334
  • 40.7

Australia and Oceania

Average Cg

Top Quartile/Low Quartile Aver. Cg

  • 0.982
  • 13.4
  • 0.969
  • 17.1
  • 0.949
  • 18.6

Europe

Average Cg

Top Quartile/Low Quartile Aver. Cg

  • 3.940
  • 24.0
  • 2.876
  • 27.3
  • 2.792
  • 14.7

North America

Average Cg

Top Quartile/Low Quartile Aver. Cg

  • 1.847
  • 17.1
  • 1.771
  • 19.1
  • 1.634
  • 16.2

South America

Average Cg

Top Quartile/Low Quartile Aver. Cg

  • 0.502
  • 4.5
  • 0.518
  • 4.9
  • 0.622
  • 5.5

Source: Calculated by the author using World Bank data

between 2000 and 2014 was Europe, where the difference in average Cg for the top 25% and the bottom 25% was cut by almost a half (from 27.3:1 to 14.7:1). During the final decade of the last century, Asia was the continent with the most rapidly growing gap between the richest and the poorest 25%. During the first fourteen years of this century, the gap narrowed by approximately a quarter, so that the difference was actually lower in 2014 than it had been in 1990.

 
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