Reconstructing income inequality in a colonial cash crop economy: five social tables for Uganda, 1925–1965

Haas, M.A. de


This study contributes to an expanding literature on historical African inequality, presenting five social tables and income inequality estimates for Uganda between 1925 and 1965. I find that income inequality was mostly stable and overall low compared to other African colonies. Decomposition reveals important underlying fault lines and shifts. Income gaps between the African majority and a tiny Asian and European income elite accounted for a large share of overall inequality. Over time, inequality among Africans increased. Income from self-provisioning was a major equalizer in Uganda’s economy, which was characterized by land abundance and widespread smallholder cultivation of labor-intensive export crops.