IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aecrev/v102y2012i1p504-23.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Why Don't We See Poverty Convergence?

Author

Listed:
  • Martin Ravallion

Abstract

Average living standards are converging among developing countries and faster growing economies see more progress against poverty. Yet we do not find poverty convergence; countries starting with higher poverty rates do not see higher proportionate rates of poverty reduction. The paper tries to explain why. Analysis of a new dataset suggests that, at given mean consumption, high initial poverty has an adverse effect on consumption growth and also makes growth less poverty-reducing. Thus, for many poor countries, the growth advantage of starting out with a low mean is lost due to a high incidence of poverty. (JEL D63, I31, I32, O15)

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Ravallion, 2012. "Why Don't We See Poverty Convergence?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 504-523, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:1:p:504-23
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.102.1.504
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/feb2012/20090916_data.zip
    File Function: dataset accompanying article
    Download Restriction: no

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jo Thori Lind & Karl Moene, 2011. "Miserly Developments," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(9), pages 1332-1352, June.
    2. Day, R H, 1992. "Complex Economic Dynamics: Obvious in History, Generic in Theory, Elusive in Data," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(S), pages 9-23, Suppl. De.
    3. James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 31-47, May.
    4. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
    5. Theo S Eicher & Cecilia Garcia Penalosa, "undated". "Inequality and Growth," Working Papers 0083, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
    6. Kraay, Aart & Raddatz, Claudio, 2007. "Poverty traps, aid, and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 315-347, March.
    7. Easterly, William, 2009. "How the Millennium Development Goals are Unfair to Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 26-35, January.
    8. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    9. Barro, Robert J, 2000. "Inequality and Growth in a Panel of Countries," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 5-32, March.
    10. McKenzie, David J & Woodruff, Christopher, 2006. "Do Entry Costs Provide an Empirical Basis for Poverty Traps? Evidence from Mexican Microenterprises," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(1), pages 3-42, October.
    11. Sarah Voitchovsky, 2005. "Does the Profile of Income Inequality Matter for Economic Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 273-296, September.
    12. Karen Macours & Norbert Schady & Renos Vakis, 2012. "Cash Transfers, Behavioral Changes, and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 247-273, April.
    13. Philippe Aghion & Abhijit Banerjee & Thomas Piketty, 1999. "Dualism and Macroeconomic Volatility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1359-1397.
    14. William Hauk & Romain Wacziarg, 2009. "A Monte Carlo study of growth regressions," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 103-147, June.
    15. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Growth, Inequality and Poverty: Looking Beyond Averages," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1803-1815, November.
    16. Hongyi Li & Heng‐fu Zou, 1998. "Income Inequality is not Harmful for Growth: Theory and Evidence," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(3), pages 318-334, October.
    17. Bardhan, Pranab & Bowles, Samuel & Gintis, Herbert, 2000. "Wealth inequality, wealth constraints and economic performance," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 541-603, Elsevier.
    18. Ravallion, Martin, 1997. "Can high-inequality developing countries escape absolute poverty?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 51-57, September.
    19. Philippe Aghion & Patrick Bolton, 1997. "A Theory of Trickle-Down Growth and Development," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 151-172.
    20. Murphy, Kevin M & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1989. "Industrialization and the Big Push," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1003-1026, October.
    21. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
    22. Lopez, Humberto & Serven, Luis, 2006. "A normal relationship ? Poverty, growth, and inequality," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3814, The World Bank.
    23. Cecilia Garcia-Penalosa & Eve Caroli & Philippe Aghion, 1999. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1615-1660, December.
    24. Acemoglu, Daron & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1997. "Was Prometheus Unbound by Chance? Risk, Diversification, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 709-751, August.
    25. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    26. Dasgupta, Partha & Ray, Debraj, 1986. "Inequality as a Determinant of Malnutrition and Unemployment: Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(384), pages 1011-1034, December.
    27. Alice Mesnard & Martin Ravallion, 2006. "The Wealth Effect on New Business Startups in a Developing Economy," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(291), pages 367-392, August.
    28. Birdsall, N. & Graham, C. & Pettinato, S., 2000. "Stuck in the Tunnel: Is Globalization Muddling the Middle Class?," Papers 14, Brookings Institution - Working Papers.
    29. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
    30. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-963, September.
    31. Humberto López & Luis Servén, 2015. "Too Poor to Grow," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Ricardo J. Caballero & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (ed.),Economic Policies in Emerging-Market Economies Festschrift in Honor of Vittorio Corbo, edition 1, volume 21, chapter 13, pages 309-350, Central Bank of Chile.
    32. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Household income dynamics in rural China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2706, The World Bank.
    33. Clarke, George R. G., 1995. "More evidence on income distribution and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 403-427, August.
    34. repec:dau:papers:123456789/10091 is not listed on IDEAS
    35. 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.
    36. Stephen Knowles, 2005. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Empirical Relationship Reconsidered in the Light of Comparable Data," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(1), pages 135-159.
    37. Easterly, William, 2001. "The Middle Class Consensus and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 317-335, December.
    38. Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2005. "Social Class and the Spirit of Capitalism," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 516-524, 04/05.
    39. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2008. "What Is Middle Class about the Middle Classes around the World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 3-28, Spring.
    40. Shaohua Chen & Martin Ravallion, 2010. "The Developing World is Poorer than We Thought, But No Less Successful in the Fight Against Poverty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1577-1625.
    41. Li, Hongyi & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Income Inequality Is Not Harmful for Growth: Theory and Evidence," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(3), pages 318-334, October.
    42. Beck, Thorsten & Levine, Ross & Loayza, Norman, 2000. "Finance and the sources of growth," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 261-300.
    43. Kristin J. Forbes, 2000. "A Reassessment of the Relationship between Inequality and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 869-887, September.
    44. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Duflo, Esther, 2003. "Inequality and Growth: What Can the Data Say?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 267-299, September.
    45. Azariadis, Costas, 1996. "The Economics of Poverty Traps: Part One: Complete Markets," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 449-496, December.
    46. Catalina Gutiérrez & Ryuichi Tanaka, 2009. "Inequality and education decisions in developing countries," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 7(1), pages 55-81, March.
    47. Ravallion, Martin, 1998. "Does aggregation hide the harmful effects of inequality on growth?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 73-77, October.
    48. Ravallion, Martin, 1995. "Growth and poverty: Evidence for developing countries in the 1980s," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(3-4), pages 411-417, June.
    49. Martin Ravallion & Shaohua Chen & Prem Sangraula, 2009. "Dollar a Day Revisited," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 23(2), pages 163-184, June.
    50. Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Ross Levine, 2007. "Finance, inequality and the poor," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 27-49, March.
    51. Kraay, Aart, 2006. "When is growth pro-poor? Evidence from a panel of countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 198-227, June.
    52. Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Growth, Income Distribution, and Democracy: What the Data Say," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 149-187, June.
    53. Lokshin Michael & Ravallion Martin, 2004. "Household Income Dynamics in Two Transition Economies," Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(3), pages 1-33, September.
    54. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1992. "Growth and redistribution components of changes in poverty measures : A decomposition with applications to Brazil and India in the 1980s," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 275-295, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Martin Ravallion, 2013. "The Idea of Antipoverty Policy," NBER Working Papers 19210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gravier-Rymaszewska, Joanna & Tyrowicz, Joanna & Kochanowicz, Jacek, 2010. "Intra-provincial inequalities and economic growth in China," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 237-258, September.
    3. Roberto Dell'Anno & Adalgiso Amendola, 2015. "Social Exclusion and Economic Growth: An Empirical Investigation in European Economies," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 61(2), pages 274-301, June.
    4. Grabiella Berloffa & Maria Luigia Segnana, 2004. "Trade, inequality and pro-poor growth: Two perspectives, one message?," Department of Economics Working Papers 0408, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    5. Daniel Halter & Manuel Oechslin & Josef Zweimüller, 2014. "Inequality and growth: the neglected time dimension," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 81-104, March.
    6. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Growth, Inequality and Poverty: Looking Beyond Averages," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1803-1815, November.
    7. Christophe Ehrhart, 2009. "The effects of inequality on growth: a survey of the theoretical and empirical literature," Working Papers 107, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    8. Shinhye Chang & Rangan Gupta & Stephen M. Miller, 2018. "Causality Between Per Capita Real GDP and Income Inequality in the U.S.: Evidence from a Wavelet Analysis," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 135(1), pages 269-289, January.
    9. Adelaide Duarte & Marta Simões, 2009. "Channels of transmission of inequality to growth: A survey of the theory and evidence from a Portuguese perspective," GEMF Working Papers 2009-07, GEMF, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra.
    10. Marrero, Gustavo A. & Rodríguez, Juan G., 2013. "Inequality of opportunity and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 107-122.
    11. Adalgiso Amendola & Roberto Dell’Anno, 2014. "Income inequality and economic growth: an empirical investigation in Mediterranean countries," RIEDS - Rivista Italiana di Economia, Demografia e Statistica - Italian Review of Economics, Demography and Statistics, SIEDS Societa' Italiana di Economia Demografia e Statistica, vol. 68(2), pages 35-58, April-Jun.
    12. Neves, Pedro Cunha & Afonso, Óscar & Silva, Sandra Tavares, 2016. "A Meta-Analytic Reassessment of the Effects of Inequality on Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 386-400.
    13. Humberto López & Luis Servén, 2015. "Too Poor to Grow," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Ricardo J. Caballero & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (ed.),Economic Policies in Emerging-Market Economies Festschrift in Honor of Vittorio Corbo, edition 1, volume 21, chapter 13, pages 309-350, Central Bank of Chile.
    14. Amparo Castelló-Climent, 2010. "Inequality and growth in advanced economies: an empirical investigation," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 8(3), pages 293-321, September.
    15. Matías Braun & Francisco Parro & Patricio Valenzuela, 2019. "Does Finance Alter The Relation Between Inequality And Growth?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 57(1), pages 410-428, January.
    16. Iyke, Bernard Njindan & Ho, Sin-Yu, 2017. "Income Inequality and Growth: New Insights from Italy," Economia Internazionale / International Economics, Camera di Commercio Industria Artigianato Agricoltura di Genova, vol. 70(4), pages 419-442.
    17. Veronica Amarante, 2014. "Revisiting Inequality and Growth: Evidence for Developing Countries," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(4), pages 571-589, December.
    18. Jakub Bartak & Łukasz Jabłoński, 2020. "Inequality and growth: What comes from the different inequality measures?," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 72(2), pages 185-212, April.
    19. Stephen Knowles, 2005. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Empirical Relationship Reconsidered in the Light of Comparable Data," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(1), pages 135-159.
    20. Max Kohler & Stefan Sperlich & Jisu Yoon, 2019. "A Varying Coefficient Model for Assessing the Returns to Growth to Account for Poverty and Inequality," Papers 1903.02390, arXiv.org.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

    Lists

    This item is featured on the following reading lists, Wikipedia, or ReplicationWiki pages:
    1. Why Don't We See Poverty Convergence? (AER 2012) in ReplicationWiki

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:1:p:504-23. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.