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On the unequal inequality of poor communities

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  • Elbers, Chris
  • Lanjouw, Peter F.
  • Mistiaen, Johan
  • Ozler, Berk
  • Simler, Ken

Abstract

Important differences exist between communities with respect to their needs, capacities, and circumstances. As central governments are not able to discern these differences fully, they seek to achieve their policy objectives by relying on decentralized mechanisms that use local information. However, household and individual characteristics within communities can also vary substantially. A growing theoretical literature suggests that inequality within communities can influence policy outcomes, and that this influence could be harmful or helpful, depending on the circumstances. Empirical investigations into the impact of inequality have, to date, largely been held back by a lack of systematic evidence on community-level inequality. The authors use household survey and population census data to estimate per capita consumption inequality within communities in three developing countries: Ecuador, Madagascar, and Mozambique. Communities are found to vary markedly from one another in terms of the degree of inequality they exhibit. The authors also show that there should be no presumption that inequality is less severe in poor communities. They argue that the kind of community-level inequality estimates generated in this paper can be used in designing and evaluating decentralized antipoverty programs.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3313.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2004
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3313

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Keywords: Poverty Impact Evaluation; Decentralization; Housing&Human Habitats; Services&Transfers to Poor; Human Rights; Governance Indicators; Inequality; Rural Poverty Reduction; Services&Transfers to Poor; Safety Nets and Transfers;

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Cited by:
  1. Alain de Janvry & Elisabeth Sadoulet, 2007. "Toward a territorial approach to rural development," The Electronic Journal of Agricultural and Development Economics, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, vol. 4(1), pages 66-98.
  2. Tomoki Fujii, 2007. "Geographic Decomposition of Inequality in Health and Wealth : Evidence from Cambodia," Microeconomics Working Papers 22418, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  3. Araujo, M. Caridad & Ferreira, Francisco H.G. & Lanjouw, Peter & Ozler, Berk, 2006. "Local inequality and project choice : theory and evidence from Ecuador," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3997, The World Bank.
  4. Emwanu, Thomas & Hoogeveen, Johannes G. & Okiira Okwi, Paul, 2006. "Updating Poverty Maps with Panel Data," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(12), pages 2076-2088, December.
  5. World Bank, 2004. "Morocco - Poverty Report : Strengthening Policy by Identifying the Geographic Dimension of poverty," World Bank Other Operational Studies 14420, The World Bank.
  6. Rimisp, 2008. "Investigación Aplicada de Dinámicas Territoriales Rurales en América Latina: Marco Metodológico. Versión 2," Working papers 002, Rimisp Latin American Center for Rural Development.
  7. Ramírez, E. & Tartakowsky, A. & Modrego, F., 2009. "La importancia de la desigualdad geográfica en Chile," Working papers 030, Rimisp Latin American Center for Rural Development.
  8. Shilpi, Forhad, 2013. "Understanding the sources of spatial disparity and convergence : evidence from Bangladesh," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6519, The World Bank.
  9. Janvry, Alain de & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2004. "Fitting the Facts and Capitalizing on New Opportunities to Redesign Rural Development Programs in Latin America," Brazilian Journal of Rural Economy and Sociology (RESR), Sociedade Brasileira de Economia e Sociologia Rural, vol. 42(3), September.
  10. Tomoki Fujii, 2008. "Two-sample estimation of poverty rates for disabled people : an application to Tanzania," Microeconomics Working Papers 22420, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  11. Remuzgo, Lorena & Sarabia, José María, 2013. "Desigualdad en la distribución mundial de emisiones de CO2 por sectores: Descomposición y estudio de sensibilidad/Inequality of Global Distribution of CO2 Emissions by Sector: Decomposition and Sens," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 31, pages 65-92, Enero.
  12. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00564924 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Claudio Agostini & Phillip Brown, 2007. "Desigualdad geográfica en Chile," Revista de Analisis Economico – Economic Analysis Review, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines, vol. 22(1), pages 3-33, June.
  14. Elbers, Chris & Tomoki Fujii & Lanjouw, Peter & Ozler, Berk & Yin, Wesley, 2004. "Poverty alleviation through geographic targeting : how much does disaggregation help?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3419, The World Bank.
  15. Modrego, F. & Ramírez, E. & Tartakowsky, A., 2008. "La heterogeneidad espacial del desarrollo económico en Chile," Working papers 009, Rimisp Latin American Center for Rural Development.
  16. Elbers, Chris & Lanjouw, Peter & Mistiaen, Johan A. & Ozler, Berk, 2005. "Re-interpreting sub-group inequality decompositions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3687, The World Bank.
  17. Modrego, F. & Celis, X. & Berdegué, J., 2008. "Polarización étnica de los ingresos rurales en el sur de Chile," Working papers 015, Rimisp Latin American Center for Rural Development.
  18. Chris Elbers & Peter Lanjouw & Johan Mistiaen & Berk Özler, 2008. "Reinterpreting between-group inequality," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 231-245, September.
  19. Krishna, Anirudh, 2007. "For Reducing Poverty Faster: Target Reasons Before People," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 1947-1960, November.

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