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Is India's Economic Growth Leaving the Poor Behind?

  • Gaurav Datt
  • Martin Ravallion

Has poverty continued to fall with growth in India in the 1990s, or has the nature of the growth process changed, such that the poor have been left behind? This paper tries to answer those questions. We do not attempt to assess the impact of India's macroeconomic reforms of the 1990s on poverty, since this would require identification of the counterfactual of what would have been experienced in the 1990s without the reforms. Rather, our aim is to describe what has happened to poverty in India in the 1990s. In the course of the discussion, we will learn about the proximate causes of changes in India's poverty rate. Moreover, although this discussion is India-specific, it illustrates themes that are often encountered in the analysis of poverty in low-income economies, including difficult issues of survey design and comparability and the proximate factors underlying the responsiveness of poverty to economic growth.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 16 (2002)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Pages: 89-108

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:16:y:2002:i:3:p:89-108
Note: DOI: 10.1257/089533002760278730
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  1. Chen, Shaohua & Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "How Did the World's Poorest Fare in the 1990s?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 47(3), pages 283-300, September.
  2. Baldwin, Richard E & Martin, Philippe & Ottaviano, Gianmarco I P, 2001. " Global Income Divergence, Trade, and Industrialization: The Geography of Growth Take-Offs," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 5-37, March.
  3. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Growth, Inequality and Poverty: Looking Beyond Averages," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1803-1815, November.
  4. 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.
  5. Jha,R., 2000. "Reducing Poverty and Inequality in India: Has Liberalization Helped?," Research Paper 204, World Institute for Development Economics Research.
  6. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1996. "Why have some Indian states done better than others at reducing rural poverty?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1594, The World Bank.
  7. Bell, Clive & Rich, Robert, 1994. "Rural Poverty and Aggregate Agricultural Performance in Post-independence India," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 56(2), pages 111-33, May.
  8. Ravallion, Martin, 2004. "Pro-poor growth : A primer," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3242, The World Bank.
  9. Ravallion, Martin & Bidani, Benu, 1993. "How robust is a poverty profile?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1223, The World Bank.
  10. Ravallion, Martin, 1996. "How Well Can Method Substitute for Data? Five Experiments in Poverty Analysis," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 199-221, August.
  11. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
  12. Paul Cashin & Ratna Sahay, 1995. "Internal Migration, Center-State Grants and Economic Growth in the States of India," IMF Working Papers 95/66, International Monetary Fund.
  13. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav, 1996. "How Important to India's Poor Is the Sectoral Composition of Economic Growth?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(1), pages 1-25, January.
  14. Deepak Lal, 2002. "Economic Reforms & Poverty Alleviation: India A Tale of two Surveys," UCLA Economics Working Papers 822, UCLA Department of Economics.
  15. Gaurav Datt, 1999. "Has Poverty Declined since Economic Reforms? Statistical Data Analysis," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-31, Monash University, Department of Economics.
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