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On the Unequal Inequality of Poor Communities

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Author Info

  • Chris Elbers
  • Peter F. Lanjouw
  • Johan A. Mistiaen
  • Berk Özler
  • Ken Simler

Abstract

Communities differ in important ways in their needs, capacities, and circumstances. Because central governments are not able to discern these differences fully, they seek to achieve their policy objectives by relying on decentralized mechanisms that use local information. Household and individual characteristics within communities can also vary substantially. A growing body of theoretical literature suggests that inequality within communities can influence policy outcomes in ways that are either harmful or helpful, depending on the circumstances. Until recently, empirical investigations into the impact of inequality have been held back by a lack of systematic evidence on community-level inequality. This study uses household survey and population census data to estimate per capita consumption inequality within communities in three developing economies. It finds that communities vary markedly in their degree of inequality. It also shows that there should be no presumption that inequality is less severe in poor communities. The kind of community-level inequality estimates generated here can be used in designing and evaluating decentralized antipoverty programs. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 18 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 401-421

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:18:y:2004:i:3:p:401-421

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Cited by:
  1. Janvry, Alain de & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2004. "Fitting the Facts and Capitalizing on New Opportunities to Redesign Rural Development Programs in Latin America," Brazilian Journal of Rural Economy and Sociology (RESR), Sociedade Brasileira de Economia e Sociologia Rural, vol. 42(3), September.
  2. Claudio Agostini & Phillip Brown, 2007. "Desigualdad geográfica en Chile," Revista de Analisis Economico – Economic Analysis Review, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines, vol. 22(1), pages 3-33, June.
  3. Elbers, Chris & Lanjouw, Peter & Mistiaen, Johan A. & Ozler, Berk, 2005. "Re-interpreting sub-group inequality decompositions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3687, The World Bank.
  4. Araujo, M. Caridad & Ferreira, Francisco H.G. & Lanjouw, Peter & Özler, Berk, 2008. "Local inequality and project choice: Theory and evidence from Ecuador," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1022-1046, June.
  5. Rimisp, 2008. "Investigación Aplicada de Dinámicas Territoriales Rurales en América Latina: Marco Metodológico. Versión 2," Working papers 002, Rimisp Latin American Center for Rural Development.
  6. Alain de Janvry & Elisabeth Sadoulet, 2007. "Toward a territorial approach to rural development," The Electronic Journal of Agricultural and Development Economics, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, vol. 4(1), pages 66-98.
  7. Elbers, Chris & Tomoki Fujii & Lanjouw, Peter & Ozler, Berk & Yin, Wesley, 2004. "Poverty alleviation through geographic targeting : how much does disaggregation help?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3419, The World Bank.
  8. World Bank, 2004. "Morocco - Poverty Report : Strengthening Policy by Identifying the Geographic Dimension of poverty," World Bank Other Operational Studies 14420, The World Bank.
  9. Tomoki Fujii, 2007. "Geographic Decomposition of Inequality in Health and Wealth: Evidence from Cambodia," Working Papers 24-2007, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
  10. Modrego, F. & Ramírez, E. & Tartakowsky, A., 2008. "La heterogeneidad espacial del desarrollo económico en Chile," Working papers 009, Rimisp Latin American Center for Rural Development.
  11. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00564924 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Remuzgo, Lorena & Sarabia, José María, 2013. "Desigualdad en la distribución mundial de emisiones de CO2 por sectores: Descomposición y estudio de sensibilidad/Inequality of Global Distribution of CO2 Emissions by Sector: Decomposition and Sens," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 31, pages 65-92, Enero.
  13. Chris Elbers & Peter Lanjouw & Johan Mistiaen & Berk Özler, 2008. "Reinterpreting between-group inequality," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 231-245, September.
  14. Modrego, F. & Celis, X. & Berdegué, J., 2008. "Polarización étnica de los ingresos rurales en el sur de Chile," Working papers 015, Rimisp Latin American Center for Rural Development.
  15. Ramírez, E. & Tartakowsky, A. & Modrego, F., 2009. "La importancia de la desigualdad geográfica en Chile," Working papers 030, Rimisp Latin American Center for Rural Development.
  16. Shilpi, Forhad, 2013. "Understanding the sources of spatial disparity and convergence : evidence from Bangladesh," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6519, The World Bank.
  17. Tomoki Fujii, 2008. "Two-sample estimation of poverty rates for disabled people : an application to Tanzania," Microeconomics Working Papers 22420, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  18. Krishna, Anirudh, 2007. "For Reducing Poverty Faster: Target Reasons Before People," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 1947-1960, November.
  19. Emwanu, Thomas & Hoogeveen, Johannes G. & Okiira Okwi, Paul, 2006. "Updating Poverty Maps with Panel Data," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(12), pages 2076-2088, December.

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