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Changes in poverty in rural Ethiopia 1989-1995: measurement, robustness tests and decomposition

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  • Stefan Dercon
  • Pramila Krishnan

Abstract

Assessing changes in poverty levels over time is bedevilled by problems in questionnaire design, the choice of the poverty line, the exact timing of the survey and uncertainty about the appropriate cost-of-living deflators. In this paper, we focus on testing the robustness of measured changes in poverty to these common problems, using household panel data collected in rural Ethiopia in 1989, 1994 and 1995: in particular, we implement a simple graphical technique for assessing the impact of uncertainty in measured inflation rates. We find that poverty declined between 1989 and 1994, but remained virtually unchanged between 1994 and 1995. However, the last result disguises substantial seasonal fluctuations in 1994. We also find that households with substantial human and physical capital, and better access to roads and towns have both lower poverty levels and are more likely to get better off over time. Human capital and access to roads and towns also reduce the fluctuations in poverty across the seasons.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 1998-07.

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Date of creation: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:1998-07

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  1. Deaton, Angus, 1988. "Quality, Quantity, and Spatial Variation of Price," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 418-30, June.
  2. Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1986. "A methodology for measuring food poverty applied to Kenya," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 59-74, November.
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  4. Ravallion, Martin, 1996. "How Well Can Method Substitute for Data? Five Experiments in Poverty Analysis," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 199-221, August.
  5. Ravallion, Martin & Bidani, Benu, 1994. "How Robust Is a Poverty Profile?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 8(1), pages 75-102, January.
  6. Kakwani, N., 1994. "Testing an hypothesis about differences in poverty estimated from grouped data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 263-271, November.
  7. Jenkins, Stephen P & Lambert, Peter J, 1997. "Three 'I's of Poverty Curves, with an Analysis of UK Poverty Trends," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(3), pages 317-27, July.
  8. Lanjouw, Jean Olson & Lanjouw, Peter, 1997. "Poverty comparisons with non-compatible data: theory and illustrations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1709, The World Bank.
  9. Webb, Patrick & von Braun, Joachim & Yohannes, Yisehac, 1992. "Famine in Ethiopia: policy implications of coping failure at national and household levels," Research reports 92, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  10. Bishop, John A & Chow, K Victor & Zheng, Buhong, 1995. "Statistical Inference and Decomposable Poverty Measures," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 329-40, October.
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  12. Chaudhuri, Shubham & Ravallion, Martin, 1994. "How well do static indicators identify the chronically poor?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 367-394, March.
  13. Kakwani, Nanak, 1993. "Poverty and Economic Growth with Application to Cote d'Ivoire," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(2), pages 121-39, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Sungil Kwak & Stephen C. Smith, 2013. "Regional Agricultural Endowments and Shifts of Poverty Trap Equilibria: Evidence from Ethiopian Panel Data," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(7), pages 955-975, July.
  2. Jayne, Thomas S. & Yamano, Takashi & Weber, Michael T. & Tschirley, David L. & Benfica, Rui M.S. & Neven, David & Chapoto, Antony & Zulu, Ballard, 2001. "Smallholder Income and Land Distribution in Africa: Implications for Poverty Reduction Strategies," Food Security International Development Papers 54047, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
  3. Ambaye, Guesh Gebremeskel, 2012. "Perception of Poverty by Ethiopian Rural Households: Using a Self Reported approach," AGRIS on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Economics and Management, vol. 4(4), December.
  4. Seetanah, B. & Ramessur, S. & Rojid, S., 2009. "Does Infrastructure Alleviates Poverty in Developing Countries?," International Journal of Applied Econometrics and Quantitative Studies, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 9(2).
  5. Liverpool, Lenis Saweda O. & Winter-Nelson, Alex, 2010. "Asset versus consumption poverty and poverty dynamics in the presence of multiple equilibria in rural Ethiopia," IFPRI discussion papers 971, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  6. Rogg, Christian, 2006. "Asset Portfolios in Africa: Evidence from Rural Ethiopia," Working Paper Series RP2006/145, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  7. Ayalew, Tekabe, 2003. "Nutrition-Productivity Link and the Persistence of Poverty," IOB Discussion Papers 2003.02, Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB).
  8. Stephen C. Smith & Sungil Kwak, 2011. "Multidimensional Poverty and Interlocking Poverty Traps: Framework and Application to Ethiopian Household Panel Data," Working Papers 2011-04, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  9. Tsehay, Abrham Seyoum & Bauer, Siegfried, 2012. "Poverty Dynamics and Vulnerability: Empirical Evidence from Smallholders in Northern Highlands of Ethiopia," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 126873, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  10. Bogale, Ayalneh & Hagedorn, Konrad & Korf, Benedikt, 2003. "Why Does Poverty Persist In Rural Ethiopia?," 2003 Annual Meeting, August 16-22, 2003, Durban, South Africa 25857, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  11. Christelle Swanepoel, 2005. "Poverty and Poverty Dynamics in Rural Ethiopia," Working Papers 03/2005, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  12. Sharada Weir, 1999. "The effects of education on farmer productivity in rural Ethiopia," CSAE Working Paper Series 1999-07, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  13. McCulloch, Neil & Calandrino, Michele, 2003. "Vulnerability and Chronic Poverty in Rural Sichuan," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 611-628, March.

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