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Probing Beneath Cross-National Averages: Poverty, Inequality, and Growth in the Philippines


Author Info

  • Arsenio M. Balisacan

    (School of Economics, University of the Philippines Diliman)

  • Ernesto M. Pernia

    (School of Economics, University of the Philippines Diliman)


Recent research papers employing cross-national regressions report that the incomes of the poor move one-for-one with overall average incomes, suggesting that poverty reduction requires nothing much more than promoting rapid economic growth. This paper attempts to probe beneath cross-country averages by analyzing provincial data on the poverty-growth nexus in the Philippines. The results show that economic growth explains a lot but not all about poverty. The balance which seems fairly large can be accounted for by other factors (e.g. infrastructure, human capital, and location-specific characteristics) and institutions (e.g., political economy and agrarian reform). Thus, while growth is indeed good for the poor, it is not good enough. How much is not good enough is illustrated by this paper and will become clearer still as subnational analysis is etended to more countries. For policy purposes, an intra-country examination of the determinants of poverty reduction seems clearly superior to cross-country analysis.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of the Philippines School of Economics in its series UP School of Economics Discussion Papers with number 200111.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2001
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as UPSE Discussion Paper No. 2001-08, December 2001
Handle: RePEc:phs:dpaper:200111

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Postal: Diliman, Quezon City 1101
Phone: 927-9686
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Related research

Keywords: Welfare; poverty; inequality; economic growth; Philippines;

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Cited by:
  1. Yap, Josef T. & Cabalfin, Michael R., 2008. "Sustainable Development Framework for Local Governance," Discussion Papers DP 2008-33, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
  2. Solita C. Monsod and Toby C. Monsod, 2003. "Philippines: Case Study on Human Development Progress Towards the MDG at the Sub-National Level," Human Development Occasional Papers (1992-2007) HDOCPA-2003-09, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  3. Manasan, Rosario G., 2007. "Financing the Millennium Development Goals: The Philippines," Discussion Papers DP 2007-06, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
  4. Orbeta, Aniceto Jr. C., 2005. "Poverty, Vulnerability and Family Size: Evidence from the Philippines," Discussion Papers DP 2005-19, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
  5. 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).
  6. Llanto, Gilberto M., 2012. "The Impact of Infrastructure on Agricultural Productivity," Discussion Papers DP 2012-12, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
  7. Rosario G. Manasan, 2007. "Financing the Millennium Development Goals : The Philippines," Development Economics Working Papers 21928, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  8. Antonio Estache, 2010. "A survey of impact evaluations of infrastructure projects, programs and policies," Working Papers ECARES 2010_005, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.


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