Valeria Lukkari

PhD candidate, Lund University

[email protected]

Research interests: African economic history and social stratification

My research is concerned with the history and economic development of the Global South – East Africa and Kenya in particular. I am interested in the investigation of the long-term inequality trends in this region and the exploration of the different groups driving these inequality trends in Africa. More specifically, the conceptualization and formation of the indigenous elites, their role in economic development and the sources and forms of elite wealth are some of my central research topics.

Case Study


Valeria Lukkari

Kenya has been characterized as a settler economy, where large farms of white settlers were run with African labor force. It quickly became an exporter of primary commodities, with coffee amongst the most lucrative cash crops, but with a relatively diverse economy. In this study we examine the long-run inequality trends starting in the colonial period with a special focus on scrutinizing the elite classes that drove economic change. Whereas previous research has concentrated on the European elites, we instead highlight the role of primarily urban elites among the African and Asian populations and how they were faring within this settler colony setting. The basis for the study are social tables encompassing incomes in the wage earning sector and special attention is devoted to the non-European top earning groups. Some of the other central themes of this research include the formation and persistence of indigenous elite groups in both the public and the private sector, their influence on the economic development trajectory and forms of elite wealth.