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Economic growth, inequality, and poverty : findings from a new data set

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  • Adams, Richard H. Jr.

Abstract

The author uses new data from 50 developing countries and 101 intervals to examine the impact of economic growth on poverty and inequality. He finds that growth represents an important means for reducing poverty in the developing world. When economic growth is measured by survey mean income (consumption), there is a strong, statistical link between growth and poverty reduction. When economic growth is measured by GDP per capita, the statistical relationship between growth and poverty reduction is still present, albeit not quite as strong. Economic growth reduces poverty because growth has little impact on income inequality. In the data set income inequality rises on average less than 1.0 percent a year. Since income distributions are relatively stable over time, economic growth tends to raise incomes for all members of society, including the poor. When growth is measured by survey mean income (consumption), the elasticity of poverty with respect to growth is -2.59. In other words, on average, a 10 percentage point increase in economic growth (measured by survey mean income) will produce a 25.9 percent decrease in the proportion of people living in poverty ($1 a person a day).

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2972.

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Date of creation: 28 Feb 2003
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2972

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Related research

Keywords: Environmental Economics&Policies; Economic Conditions and Volatility; Poverty Impact Evaluation; Services&Transfers to Poor; Public Health Promotion; Achieving Shared Growth; Governance Indicators; Economic Conditions and Volatility; Inequality; Poverty Assessment;

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References

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  1. Schultz, T.P., 1998. "Inequality in the Distribution of Personal Income in the World: How It Is Changing and Why," Papers 784, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  2. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-91, September.
  3. Ravallion, Martin & Shaohua Chen, 1996. "What can new survey data tell us about recent changes in distribution and poverty?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1694, The World Bank.
  4. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1998. "New ways of looking at old issues: inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 259-287.
  5. Deaton, A., 2000. "Counting the World's Poor: Problems and Possible Solutions," Papers 197, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  6. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Growth, Inequality and Poverty: Looking Beyond Averages," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1803-1815, November.
  7. Squire, Lyn, 1993. "Fighting Poverty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 377-82, May.
  8. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2001. "Growth is good for the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2587, The World Bank.
  9. Ravallion, Martin, 1997. "Can high-inequality developing countries escape absolute poverty?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1775, The World Bank.
  10. Bruno, Michael & Ravallion, Martin & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "Equity and growth in developing countries : old and new perspectives on the policy issues," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1563, The World Bank.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Liyanage Devangi H. Perera & Grace H.Y. Lee, 2013. "Have Economic Growth And Institutional Quality Contributed To Poverty And Inequality Reduction In Asia?," Monash Economics Working Papers 37-13, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  2. Leonardo Gasparini & Federico Gutiérrez & Leopoldo Tornarolli, 2005. "Growth and Income Poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evidence from Household Surveys," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0030, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  3. Lonnie K. Stevans & David N. Sessions, 2005. "The Relationship Between Poverty, Economic Growth, and Inequality Revisited," GE, Growth, Math methods 0502002, EconWPA.
  4. Giuliano, Paola & Ruiz-Arranz, Marta, 2009. "Remittances, financial development, and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 144-152, September.
  5. Hafiz A. Pasha & T. Palanivel, 2003. "Pro-poor Growth and Policies: The Asian Experience," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 42(4), pages 313-348.
  6. Alexander Cotte Poveda & Clara Inés Pardo Martínez, 2011. "Las tendencias de la pobreza y la desigualdad: una evidencia para los departamentos de Colombia," Ensayos Revista de Economia, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Facultad de Economia, vol. 0(2), pages 29-50, November.
  7. Paci, Pierella & Sasin, Martin J. & Verbeek, Jos, 2004. "Economic growth, income distribution, and poverty in Poland during transition," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3467, The World Bank.

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