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Is there a metropolitan bias ? the inverse relationship between poverty and city size in selected developing countries

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  • Ferre, Celine
  • Ferreira, Francisco H.G.
  • Lanjouw, Peter

Abstract

This paper provides evidence from eight developing countries of an inverse relationship between poverty and city size. Poverty is both more widespread and deeper in very small and small towns than in large or very large cities. This basic pattern is generally robust to choice of poverty line. The paper shows, further, that for all eight countries, a majority of the urban poor live in medium, small, or very small towns. Moreover, it is shown that the greater incidence and severity of consumption poverty in smaller towns is generally compounded by similarly greater deprivation in terms of access to basic infrastructure services, such as electricity, heating gas, sewerage, and solid waste disposal. The authors illustrate for one country -- Morocco -- that inequality within large cities is not driven by a severe dichotomy between slum dwellers and others. The notion of a single cleavage between slum residents and well-to-do burghers as the driver of urban inequality in the developing world thus appears to be unsubstantiated -- at least in this case. Robustness checks are performed to assess whether the findings in the paper are driven by price variation across city-size categories, by the reliance on an income-based concept of well-being, and by the application of small-area estimation techniques for estimating poverty rates at the town and city level.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5508.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5508

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Keywords: Rural Poverty Reduction; Subnational Economic Development; City Development Strategies; Regional Economic Development;

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  1. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002, August.
  2. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Lanjouw, Peter & Neri, Marcelo Cortes, 2002. "A Robust Poverty Profile for Brazil Using Multiple Data Sources," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 444, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  3. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua & Sangraula, Prem, 2007. "New evidence on the urbanization of global poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4199, The World Bank.
  4. Chris Elbers & Jean O. Lanjouw & Peter Lanjouw, 2003. "Micro--Level Estimation of Poverty and Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 355-364, January.
  5. Demombynes, Gabriel & Ozler, Berk, 2002. "Crime and local inequality in South Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2925, The World Bank.
  6. Tomoki Fujii, 2010. "Micro-Level Estimation of Child Undernutrition Indicators in Cambodia," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, World Bank Group, vol. 24(3), pages 520-553, December.
  7. Demombynes, Gabriel & Elbers, Chris & Lanjouw, Jean O. & Lanjouw, Peter, 2007. "How good a map ? Putting small area estimation to the test," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4155, The World Bank.
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