Does Gender Inequality Reduce Growth in Sub-Saharan African and Arab Countries?*


  • Mina Baliamoune-Lutz,

    1. Mina Baliamoune-Lutz is Associate Professor, University of North Florida, USA and Research Fellow, ICER, Turin, Italy.
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  • Mark McGillivray

    1. Mark McGillivray is Chief Economist, Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), Canberra, Australia. Corresponding author: Mina Baliamoune-Lutz, Department of Economics, University of North Florida, 1 UNF Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32224, USA. Tel: 904-620-1223, e-mail:
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  • *

    Mina Baliamoune-Lutz is grateful to ICER for research fellowship that supported this work and to Stefan Klasen for useful comments on an earlier version of the paper. The authors thank an anonymous referee for helpful comments and suggestions.


Abstract:  This paper uses 1974 to 2001 panel data for 31 sub-Saharan African and 10 Arab countries and Arellano–Bond estimations to empirically assess the impact on growth of an important indicator associated with MDG 3; namely the ratio of 15–24-year-old literate females to males. Our findings indicate that gender inequalities in literacy have a statistically significant negative effect that is robust to changes in the specification. In addition, it seems that gender inequality has a stronger effect on growth in Arab countries. Interestingly, we find that the interaction between openness to trade and gender inequality has a positive impact. This result suggests that trade-induced growth may be accompanied by greater gender inequalities.