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African Poverty is Falling...Much Faster than You Think!

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  • Xavier Sala-i-Martin
  • Maxim Pinkovskiy

Abstract

The conventional wisdom that Africa is not reducing poverty is wrong. Using the methodology of Pinkovskiy and Sala-i-Martin (2009), we estimate income distributions, poverty rates, and inequality and welfare indices for African countries for the period 1970-2006. We show that: (1) African poverty is falling and is falling rapidly; (2) if present trends continue, the poverty Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people with incomes less than one dollar a day will be achieved on time; (3) the growth spurt that began in 1995 decreased African income inequality instead of increasing it; (4) African poverty reduction is remarkably general: it cannot be explained by a large country, or even by a single set of countries possessing some beneficial geographical or historical characteristic. All classes of countries, including those with disadvantageous geography and history, experience reductions in poverty. In particular, poverty fell for both landlocked as well as coastal countries; for mineral-rich as well as mineral-poor countries; for countries with favorable or with unfavorable agriculture; for countries regardless of colonial origin; and for countries with below- or above-median slave exports per capita during the African slave trade.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15775.

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Date of creation: Feb 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15775

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Cited by:
  1. Maxim Pinkovskiy & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2014. "Lights, Camera,... Income!: Estimating Poverty Using National Accounts, Survey Means, and Lights," NBER Working Papers 19831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Bertocchi, Graziella, 2011. "Growth, Colonization, and Institutional Development: In and Out of Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 5856, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Kenneth Harttgen & Stephan Klasen & Sebastian Vollmer, 2013. "An African Growth Miracle? Or: What do Asset Indices Tell Us About Trends in Economic Performance?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 59, pages S37-S61, October.
  4. Thomas Goda, 2013. "Changes in income inequality from a global perspective: an overview," Working Papers PKWP1303, Post Keynesian Economics Study Group (PKSG).
  5. SENBETA, Sisay Regassa, 2012. "How important are external shocks in explaining growth in Sub-Saharan Africa? Evidence from a Bayesian VAR," Working Papers 2012010, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics.
  6. Paul Mosley, 2013. "Two Africas? Why Africa’s ‘Growth Miracle’ is barely reducing poverty," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 19113, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
  7. Fuglie, Keith O. & Rada, Nicholas E., 2013. "Resources, Policies, and Agricultural Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa," Economic Research Report 145368, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  8. Justin Yifu Lin, 2012. "From Flying Geese To Leading Dragons: New Opportunities and Strategies for Structural Transformation in Developing Countries," Global Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 3(4), pages 397-409, November.
  9. Beegle, Kathleen & De Weerdt, Joachim & Friedman, Jed & Gibson, John, 2010. "Methods of household consumption measurement through surveys : experimental results from Tanzania," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5501, The World Bank.
  10. Facundo Alvaredo & Leonardo Gasparini, 2013. "Recent Trends in Inequality and Poverty in Developing Countries," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0151, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  11. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis, 2012. "Africa's statistical tragedy: best statistics, best government effectiveness," MPRA Paper 40674, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Songwe, Vera, 2011. "Food, Financial Crises, and Complex Derivatives: A Tale of High Stakes Innovation and Diversification," World Bank - Economic Premise, The World Bank, issue 69, pages 1-9, November.
  13. Sterner, Thomas & Damon, Maria, 2011. "Green growth in the post-Copenhagen climate," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(11), pages 7165-7173.
  14. Francis Teal, 2014. "Employment Creation, Poverty and the Structure of the Job Market in Nigeria," CSAE Working Paper Series 2014-18, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  15. AfDB AfDB, 2011. "MDG Report 2011 - Full Report," MDG Report 334, African Development Bank.

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