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Submitted by William Butterfield on

Having lived in Egypt for two years, my impression is that yes indeed, Egypt is certainly "more equal" than many other developing countries and indeed the US. But Egypt's inequality takes a different form than many other developing country models. What you have in Egypt is a fairly large group of people who are "connected" to the incumbent elite ruling class, and a very large group of people who are not. The "connected" group does about 2-5 times better in terms of income than the "unconnected" group. Given that the connected group is much larger than in most other countries (because the military and protected enterprises are large and diverse, and spread benefits fairly widely) we see a relatively lower Gini than other countries. Compare this to, for example, Latin America or, say, the Philippines, where you tend to have a much smaller elite class that does about 50-100 times better on average than the unconnected classes. When you have a smaller group commanding much larger shares of rent per capita, that is what gives you the big Gini coefficient.

So despite the relatively small Gini, Egypt still has a glaring "insider vs. outsider" problem that is driving the perceptions that you refer to.