Chapter 7: Racial/ethnic disparity and economic development
William Darity, Jr Research undertaken by Jessica Gordon Nembhard and myself (Darity and Nembhard 2000a, 2000b) provides a preliminary investigation into the relationship between inter-group disparity and levels of economic development. We utilized a data set of 12 countries with reliable data on intergroup diﬀerences. Our ﬁndings are presented in two papers, including an extremely compact summary in the May 2000 proceedings issue of the American Economic Review (Darity and Nembhard 2000b). The 12 countries are Australia, Belize, Brazil, Canada, India, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States of America. Race, caste or ethnicity each serves as the basis for group division and diﬀerences in economic outcomes. In 1998 the range in per capita incomes across the 12 countries varied from a low of US$430 for India to a high of US$32,380 for Japan (World Bank 2000b). The range in scores on the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP’s) Human Development Index (HDI) varied from a low of .545 for India to a high of .932 for Canada (UNDP 2000). We found that countries with a lower general level of inequality do not necessarily have lower levels of intergroup inequality. Nor does disparity across groups evaporate as levels of development, whether measured by per capita income or by the HDI, rise. Generally positive social eﬀects are associated with increasing dignity for women. Even in very low-income regions or societies, if women are highly literate and comparatively involved in...
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