Income Distribution Dynamics and Leftist Islamism in Egypt
I am working with a former Korean student of mine (Deockhyun Ryu, who went back to Korea but is currently visiting Rice) on extending our work on income distribution dynamics to consider within as well as between country income dynamics. So, out of curiosity, and as input into my other ongoing work on understanding the Arab Spring and the role of leftist religion therein, I plotted this graph for Egypt, showing the evolution of per capita income by decile. Divergence between the top decile and the rest is very clear starting with the open door policies in the 1970s. This is in contrast to the pattern in Korea, whose growth was much more inclusive (less divergence between deciles), but somewhat similar to Turkey's.
(Note: an earlier version of this plot had used the wrong deflator).
|Egypt Per Capita Income by Decile (2005 PPP Dollars; data: PWT 7.1 and WIID2C)|
|Korea Per Capita Income by Decile|
|Turkey Per Capita Income by decile|
We do not see the same strong dynamic between religious and class discourses in Egypt vs. Turkey. Inequality in Turkey remains high, but it has been declining in Turkey, even as it increased in Egypt. This figure compares the ratio between the top decile per capita income to the 5th decile (middle class):
|Ratio of top decile to 5th decile per capita income|
One way to look at the difference between Egyptian leftist Islamism and the Turkish mix is to look at the relationships between variables in the WVS, which I show below (the strong link between these variables are detected by Bayesian Network analysis of 200+ variables from the WVS; the causal link for Egypt goes from leftist tendencies to Islamism).
Note how for Egypt, the majority are both leftist (democracy for them means redistribution from the rich to the poor) and anti-secular (democracy for them means that religious authorities should interpret the law):
|Egypt's leftist Islamism (data: WVS 2008)|
By contrast, for Turkey, the relationship is much more mixed, with smaller centers of gravity at all corners (they have their leftist Islamists, but also their leftist secularists, and their rightist secularists, etc.):
|Turkey's Split Personality (data: WVS 2008)|