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Poverty and Inequality in India: A Re-Examination

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  • ANGUS DEATON

    (Princeton University)

  • JEAN DREZE

    (Princeton University)

Abstract

This paper presents a new set of integrated poverty and inequality estimates for India and Indian states for 1987-88, 1993-94 and 1999-2000. The poverty estimates are broadly consistent with independent evidence on per capita expenditure, state domestic product and real agricultural wages. They show that poverty decline in the 1990s proceeded more or less in line with earlier trends. Regional disparities increased in the 1990s, with the southern and western regions doing much better than the northern and eastern regions. Economic inequality also increased within states, especially within urban areas, and between urban and rural areas. We briefly examine other development indicators, relating for instance to health and education. Most indicators have continued to improve in the nineties, but social progress has followed very diverse patterns, ranging from accelerated progress in some fields to slow down and even regression in others. We find no support for sweeping claims that the nineties have been a period of ‘unprecedented improvement’ or ‘widespread impoverishment’.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies. in its series Working Papers with number 184.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
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Handle: RePEc:pri:rpdevs:deaton_dreze_poverty_india

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  1. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 2002. "Is India's economic growth leaving the poor behind?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2846, The World Bank.
  2. Gaurav Datt, 1999. "Has Poverty Declined since Economic Reforms? Statistical Data Analysis," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series archive-31, Monash University, Department of Economics.
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