Based on its diamond-led growth since the late 1960s onwards, Botswana is hailed as an African growth miracle. It is also known as a country with high levels of economic inequality, the gini peaking at 0.63 in 1993. We scrutinize the relationship between the two – growth and inequality. We show that the rise in inequality is not driven by the extraction of a high value natural resource. Instead, the explanation is found in the polarisation in the cattle sector and increasing wages for government officials during the modest cattle-led growth period starting in the 1940s.

Data is available here.

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