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Economic Inequality in the ‘Democratic’ Nepal: Dimensions and Implications
Unformatted Document Text:  17 wealth, the absolute appreciation of which appears to have contributed to the significant improvement in relative terms. This, together with a decline in the absolute values of wealth in the Center, has led to the relative positions of the Center and West almost identical by the end of the period. Table 6 reports estimates useful to examine inequality across the three ecological belts. The Hills belt leads the Mountains and Terai across all economic measures. It is reasonable to find that the Mountains belt embodying all the Himalayas lags considerably behind the Hills belt, which draws significantly more economic activities. But even the fertile land of Terai does not enjoy comparative advantage in the values of land and other economic resources to which people have ready access. This did not significantly alter after the eight years either. For one, the Hills belt witnessed increasing household averages of expenditures, incomes, and wealth. Next, the respective averages also increased in these belts in both absolute and relative terms, with some impressive progress especially in household wealth. These improvements, however, were not sufficient to reverse the highly disparate estimates with the Hills belt. While these two belts led on income from agriculture and home or in-kind production, just like the case of rural areas, the household expenditure, income, and wealth estimates were between 68 and 32 percent of those in the Hills, with the lower end estimates applicable to the Mountains. (Insert Table 6 here) These estimates suggest a very large degree of spatial inequality in the access to economic resources. It is important to note that some of the variations are associated with the urban/rural settings of the spatial categories examined here. The fact that the inequalities were more pronounced between the urban and rural areas as presented in Table 4 substantiates the argument that the essentially different lifestyles in them require considerably different economic

Authors: Wagle, Udaya.
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17
wealth, the absolute appreciation of which appears to have contributed to the significant
improvement in relative terms. This, together with a decline in the absolute values of wealth in
the Center, has led to the relative positions of the Center and West almost identical by the end of
the period.
Table 6 reports estimates useful to examine inequality across the three ecological belts. The
Hills belt leads the Mountains and Terai across all economic measures. It is reasonable to find
that the Mountains belt embodying all the Himalayas lags considerably behind the Hills belt,
which draws significantly more economic activities. But even the fertile land of Terai does not
enjoy comparative advantage in the values of land and other economic resources to which people
have ready access. This did not significantly alter after the eight years either. For one, the Hills
belt witnessed increasing household averages of expenditures, incomes, and wealth. Next, the
respective averages also increased in these belts in both absolute and relative terms, with some
impressive progress especially in household wealth. These improvements, however, were not
sufficient to reverse the highly disparate estimates with the Hills belt. While these two belts led
on income from agriculture and home or in-kind production, just like the case of rural areas, the
household expenditure, income, and wealth estimates were between 68 and 32 percent of those in
the Hills, with the lower end estimates applicable to the Mountains.
(Insert Table 6 here)
These estimates suggest a very large degree of spatial inequality in the access to economic
resources. It is important to note that some of the variations are associated with the urban/rural
settings of the spatial categories examined here. The fact that the inequalities were more
pronounced between the urban and rural areas as presented in Table 4 substantiates the argument
that the essentially different lifestyles in them require considerably different economic


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