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Growth, distribution, and poverty in Africa : messages from the 1990s

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  • Christiaensen, Luc
  • Demery, Lionel
  • Paternostro, Stefano

Abstract

review recent evidence on the trends in household well-being in Africa during the 1990s. They draw on the findings of a series of studies on poverty dynamics that use the better data sets now available. The authors begin by taking a broad view of poverty, tracing changes in both income poverty and in other more direct measures of individual welfare. Experiences have been varied: several countries have seen a sharp decline in poverty, while some have witnessed a marked increase. Yet, in the aggregate, economic growth has been pro-poor. Nonetheless, the aggregate numbers also hide significant and systematic distributional effects which have caused some groups to be left behind. The authors draw four key conclusions: Economic policy reforms (improving macroeconomic balances and liberalizing markets) have been conducive to reducing poverty. Market connectedness is key for the poor to benefit from new opportunities generated by economic growth. Some population groups and regions, by virtue of their sheer remoteness, have been left behind when growth picks up. Education and access to land further condition the extent to which households can benefit from economic opportunities and escape poverty. Finally, rainfall variations and ill health are found to have profound effects on poverty outcomes in Africa underscoring the significance of social protection in a poverty reduction strategy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2810.

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Date of creation: 31 Mar 2002
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2810

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Keywords: Health Economics&Finance; Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Environmental Economics&Policies; Public Health Promotion; Services&Transfers to Poor; Governance Indicators; Achieving Shared Growth; Poverty Assessment; Environmental Economics&Policies; Health Economics&Finance;

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References

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  1. Alesina, Alberto & Rodrik, Dani, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-90, May.
  2. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Growth, Inequality and Poverty: Looking Beyond Averages," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1803-1815, November.
  3. Kanbur Ravi, 2001. "Economic Policy, Distribution and Poverty: The Nature of Disagreements," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(2), pages 1-26, April.
  4. Sahn, David E. & Stifel, David C., 2000. "Poverty Comparisons Over Time and Across Countries in Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 2123-2155, December.
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  6. Knowles, Stephen, 2001. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Empirical Relationship Reconsidered in the Light of Comparable Data," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  7. Jeffrey Alwang & Bradford F. Mills & Nelson Taruvinga, 2002. "Why Has Poverty Increased in Zimbabwe?," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14060, October.
  8. David E. Sahn & David Stifel, 2003. "Exploring Alternative Measures of Welfare in the Absence of Expenditure Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 49(4), pages 463-489, December.
  9. Patrick GUILLAUMONT & Sylviane GUILLAUMONT JEANNENEY & Jean-François BRUN, 1997. "How Instability Lowers African Growth ?," Working Papers 199712, CERDI.
  10. Aron, Janine, 2000. "Growth and Institutions: A Review of the Evidence," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 15(1), pages 99-135, February.
  11. Demery, Lionel & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "Macroeconomic Adjustment and Poverty in Africa: An Emerging Picture," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 39-59, February.
  12. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
  13. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1994. "The Political Economy of Growth: A Critical Survey of the Recent Literature," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 8(3), pages 351-71, September.
  14. Abdulai, Awudu, 2000. "Spatial price transmission and asymmetry in the Ghanaian maize market," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 327-349, December.
  15. Jonathan Temple, 1999. "The New Growth Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 112-156, March.
  16. Abdulai, Awudu & Delgado, Christopher L., 1999. "An empirical investigation of short and long-run agricultural wage formation in Ghana," MTID discussion papers 37, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  17. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Governance matters," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2196, The World Bank.
  18. Badiane, Ousmane & Shively, Gerald E., 1998. "Spatial integration, transport costs, and the response of local prices to policy changes in Ghana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 411-431, August.
  19. Delgado, Christopher L. & Hopkins, Jane & Kelly , Valerie & Hazell, P. B. R. & McKenna, Anna A. & Gruhn, Peter & Hojjati, Behjat & Sil, Jayashree & Courbois, Claude, 1998. "Agricultural growth linkages in Sub-Saharan Africa:," Research reports 107, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Schweickert, Rainer & Thiele, Rainer, 2004. "From Washington to post-Washington? Consensus policies and divergent developments in Latin America and Asia," Kiel Discussion Papers 408, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  2. Brooks, Jonathan & Croppenstedt, Andre & Aggrey-Fynn, Emmanuel, 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Ghana," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48523, World Bank.
  3. Samuel Fambon, 2005. "Croissance économique, pauvreté et inégalité des revenus au Cameroun," Revue d’économie du développement, De Boeck Université, vol. 19(1), pages 91-122.
  4. David E. Sahn & Stephen D. Younger, 2006. "Changes in inequality and poverty in Latin America: Looking beyond income to health and education," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 215-234, November.
  5. Rizwana Siddiqui, 2008. "Income, Public Social Services, and Capability Development : A Cross-district Analysis of Pakistan," Development Economics Working Papers 22221, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  6. Fan, Shenggen & Johnson, Michael & Saurkar, Anuja & Makombe, Tsitsi, 2008. "Investing in African agriculture to halve poverty by 2015:," IFPRI discussion papers 751, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  7. Krishna, Anirudh, 2004. "Escaping Poverty and Becoming Poor: Who Gains, Who Loses, and Why?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 121-136, January.
  8. Barrios, Salvador & Ouattara, Bazoumanna & Strobl, Eric, 2004. "The Impact of Climatic Change on Agricultural Production: Is it different for Africa?," MPRA Paper 6240, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Lelli, Sara, 2004. "What Money Can't Buy: The Relevance of Income Redistribution for Functioning Levels," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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