Working Paper
Absolute or relative: perceptions of inequality among young adults in Mozambique

Different concepts of inequality lead to different positions in discussions about whether economic growth leads to increasing inequality.

This study investigates how over 1,100 young adults in Mozambique perceive inequality and whether their perceptions are based on relative or absolute terms. It follows the line of work which examines attitudes (perceptions and preferences) towards different distributional axioms, and focuses on scale and translation invariance.

Most of our respondents believe that inequality in their neighbourhood is too high and that circumstances beyond their control explain why some people are poor.

We conclude that, while some respondents think in absolute terms, many do not agree with either the scale-invariance or the translation-invariance axioms, and there is great variation depending on the scenario presented to the respondents.

We find some correlation between their way of thinking and gender, but no clear link with level of education and type of employment.