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The Emperor’s New Suit: Global Poverty Estimates Reappraised

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  • Sanjay G. Reddy

Abstract

The recent revision of the World Bank’s global poverty estimates based on a new $1.25 (2005 PPP) poverty line underlines their unreliability and lack of meaningfulness. It is very difficult to justify various aspects of the Bank’s approach. In the short term, less weight should be given to the Bank’s poverty estimates in monitoring the first MDG. In the longer term, a solution to the observed problems requires adopting an altogether different method. Such an alternative exists but requires global institutional coordination. Until it is implemented, the crisis in the monitoring of global consumption poverty can be expected to intensify. Subsequent versions of this paper, correcting errors or extending the argument, will be made available on socialanalysis.org

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs in its series Working Papers with number 79.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:une:wpaper:79

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Keywords: Millennium Development Goals; poverty; purchasing power parities (PPPs); world poverty;

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  1. Chen, Shaohua & Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "How Did the World's Poorest Fare in the 1990s?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 47(3), pages 283-300, September.
  2. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2003. "Halving Global Poverty," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
  3. Carlson, Andrea & Lino, Mark & Juan, WenYen & Hanson, Kenneth & Basiotis, P. Peter, 2007. "Thrifty Food Plan, 2006," CNPP Reports 42899, United States Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.
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