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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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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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  1. Klaus Deininger & Lyn Squire, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 512, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  2. Squire, Lyn, 1993. "Fighting Poverty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 377-82, May.
  3. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1999. "A Data Set on Income Distribution," CEMA Working Papers 575, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  4. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Growth, Inequality and Poverty: Looking Beyond Averages," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1803-1815, November.
  5. 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.
  6. Ravallion, Martin, 1997. "Can high-inequality developing countries escape absolute poverty?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 51-57, September.
  7. Angus Deaton, 2000. "Counting the world’s poor: problems and possible solutions," Working Papers 212, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  8. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 1997. "What Can New Survey Data Tell Us about Recent Changes in Distribution and Poverty?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 357-82, May.
  9. 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.
  10. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2001. "Growth is good for the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2587, The World Bank.
  11. 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. Lonnie K. Stevans & David N. Sessions, 2005. "The Relationship Between Poverty, Economic Growth, and Inequality Revisited," GE, Growth, Math methods 0502002, EconWPA.
  2. Giuliano, Paola & Ruiz-Arranz, Marta, 2006. "Remittances, Financial Development, and Growth," IZA Discussion Papers 2160, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Wannaphong Durongkaveroj and Rossarin Osathanunkul & Rossarin Osathanunkul, 2013. "Regional multipliers of social accounting matrix and the effective eradication of poverty," The Empirical Econometrics and Quantitative Economics Letters, Faculty of Economics, Chiang Mai University, vol. 2(4), pages 39 - 52, December.
  6. Liyanage Devangi H. Perera & Grace H.Y. Lee, 2013. "Have Economic Growth And Institutional Quality Contributed To Poverty And Inequality Reduction In Asia?," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 37-13, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. 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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