Skip to content


Income inequality and export-oriented commercialization in colonial Africa: Evidence from six countries

Ellen Hillbom Lund University
Jutta Bolt Lund University
Michiel de Haas Wageningen University
Federico Tadei University of Barcelona

Today, Africa is characterized by substantial variations in income inequality levels between and within countries. While certain countries in West and North Africa portray a relatively equal distribution of incomes, others, notably in Central, Eastern, and especially Southern Africa, grapple with entrenched inequalities. Scholars have long identified two key historical explanations for the outcomes of […]

Inequality Regimes in Africa from Pre-Colonial Times to the Present

Michiel de Haas Wageningen University
Ewout Frankema Wageningen University
Marlous van Waijenburg Harvard University

Inequality regimes in the African context In recent years, the study of economic inequality has taken on a more global and historical perspective. Scholars such as Thomas Piketty, Branko Milanovic, and Walter Scheidel have challenged traditional ideas about the drivers of long-term trends in income and wealth distribution. This new global inequality literature has so […]

Why social tables remain the coolest tool for historical inequality studies

Calumet Links Stellenbosch University

Studying economic inequality in contemporary settings remains a difficult thing to do. People are typically not too keen on letting you know how much they earn or how rich they are. We often under-report our earnings for fear of rebuke from tax authorities or because it’s a social taboo to speak about money and incomes. […]

Collecting Archival Material: a Conversation with Historian Karin Pallaver

Maria Mwaipopo Fibaek Lund University
Karin Pallaver University of Bologna

Maria Mwaipopo Fibæk talks to Karin Pallaver, a member of AFLIT and an Associate Professor of African History in the Department of History and Cultures at the University of Bologna. Karin’s research draws on a multitude of historical sources of which many were collected at national archives in United Kingdom and East Africa and the […]

Land, Labour, Legacies: Long-term Trends in Inequality and Living Standards in Tanzania, c. 1920-2020

Sascha Klocke Lund University

In my dissertation, I seek to investigate the roots of poverty and economic inequality in Tanzania and analyse how growth, inequality, and poverty interact in the country in four interrelated papers. Throughout the dissertation, the colonial period takes a prominent role, since a better understanding of the trends in inequality and living standards under colonial […]

Presentation of the AFLIT Research Network

Ellen Hillbom Lund University
Maria Mwaipopo Fibaek Lund University

In this Q&A between the coordinator of the AFLIT research network, Professor Ellen Hillbom, and researcher Maria Fibaek, the AFLIT network is introduced. The conversation highlights why there is a need to study inequality in colonial Africa. Thoughts on ways to overcome data scarcity and the development of theories of drivers of inequality are exchanged. […]