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Convergence, Shocks and Poverty


Author Info

  • Chris Elbers


  • Jan Willem Gunning


  • Bill Kinsey

    (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)


Using a unique panel data set for rural households in Zimbabwe we estimate amicroeconomic model of growth under uncertainty, a stochastic version of the Ramsey modelwith livestock as the single asset. We use the estimation results in simulation experiments(over a 20-year period) to quantify the importance of convergence, household fixed effectsand shocks. First, we find powerful convergence. In the absence of shocks and withouthousehold fixed effects there is rapid growth over the period (5.6% growth p.a. in percapita assets) even though there is no technical progress. The process of adjusting thecapital stock (livestock) to its steady state value is - as expected - strongly equalising:the coefficient of variation (across households) of livestock ownership falls from 78% to6%. Secondly, when we allow for household fixed effects - the case of conditionalconvergence - the aggregate growth rate is very similar but inequality remains highthroughout the period.Finally, we find that shocks have strong and persistent effects. In this model shocksaffect aggregate growth both ex ante and ex post. These effects are strong: shocks reduceaggregate growth over the period by a fifth and increase inequality substantially.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 02-035/2.

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Date of creation: 10 Apr 2002
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20020035

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Keywords: convergence; poverty dynamics; growth under uncertainty;

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Cited by:
  1. Chris Elbers & Jan Willem Gunning, 2002. "Growth Regression and Economic Theory," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-034/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  2. Mehari Mekonnen Akalu, 2002. "Measuring and Ranking Value Drivers," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-043/2, Tinbergen Institute.


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