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Pro-poor Growth and Policies: The Asian Experience

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Author Info

  • Hafiz A. Pasha

    (Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific of the UNDP.)

  • T. Palanivel

    (UNDP's Asia-Pacific Regional Programme on Macroeconomics of Poverty Reduction.)

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    Abstract

    The objective of this paper is to assemble on a systematic basis the available data on Asian countries and then analyse the relationship between growth and poverty reduction in a long-term perspective, as well as the impact of different macroeconomic variables on the intensity of this relationship. The results indicate that there is not only a strong positive relationship between growth and poverty reduction, but also that this relationship is highly variable across countries and time periods. The key macroeconomic determinants of the degree of pro-poor growth appear to be the rates of employment and agricultural growth. Inflation, at least up to a certain rate, does not impact poverty negatively, while the role of exports is essentially indirect through the contribution to the overall rate of economic growth. Examination of the change in policy stance of the Asian countries during the 1990s in relation to the 1980s demonstrates that on balance the mix of policies has not been pro-poor. The apparent sacrifice of growth in pursuit of macroeconomic stability has diminished the impact on poverty reduction. Given the relatively weak trade-off between inflation and growth with regard to the impact on poverty and the fact that inflation rates are currently low in the region, it is argued that countries can be more flexible in their policy stance with regard to the adoption of more growth-oriented as opposed to stabilisation policies. In particular, a case is made for resorting to a more expansionary counter-cyclical fiscal policy, led by higher levels of public investment, supported by appropriate monetary and exchange rate policies. The paper concludes with a detailed description of the policies designed to achieve faster agricultural development and greater employment generation.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Pakistan Institute of Development Economics in its journal The Pakistan Development Review.

    Volume (Year): 42 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 313-348

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    Handle: RePEc:pid:journl:v:42:y:2003:i:4:p:313-348

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    References

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    1. Ravallion, Martin & Shaohua Chen, 1996. "What can new survey data tell us about recent changes in distribution and poverty?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1694, The World Bank.
    2. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav, 2002. "Why has economic growth been more pro-poor in some states of India than others?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 381-400, August.
    3. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Growth, inequality, and poverty : looking beyond averages," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2558, The World Bank.
    4. Anne Epaulard, 2003. "Macroeconomic Performance and Poverty Reduction," IMF Working Papers 03/72, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2001. "Growth is good for the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2587, The World Bank.
    6. Easterly, William & Fischer, Stanley, 2000. "Inflation and the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2335, The World Bank.
    7. Adams, Richard H. Jr., 2003. "Economic growth, inequality, and poverty : findings from a new data set," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2972, The World Bank.
    8. Bruno, Michael & Ravallion, Martin & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "Equity and growth in developing countries : old and new perspectives on the policy issues," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1563, The World Bank.
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