On the basis of data drawn from two household surveys, this paper investigates the evolution of income distribution inequality in Cameroon between 1984 and 1996, a period characterized by a serious economic crisis. The paper decomposes inequality into within- and between-groups components, using the Shapley-value approach and total expenditure per adult equivalent as a welfare indicator to find the contributions of these components to overall inequality at the national level. Decompositions are carried out according to household socio-economic characteristics such as the residence area,the stratum, the educational level, the gender, and the age group of the household head.The study results indicate that inequality in total expenditures declined only slightly between 1984 and 1996,and that the contributions of within-groups inequality components to overall inequality for all the five household socio-economic characteristics analyzed in the study, overwhelmingly explain total inequality at the national level in Cameroon. The policy implications of the study for each of the five household socioeconomic characteristics considered revolve around the main conclusion of the paper according to which the reduction of inequality in Cameroon, as in most African countries, depends not only on the design and implementation of growth policies conducive to poverty and inequality reduction, but also on the political will of decision makers who should be motivated to optimize social welfare for their populaces while achieving social justice in terms of equity in the distribution of income.
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