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Is Poverty Increasing in the Developing World?


  • Chen, Shaohua
  • Datt, Gaurav
  • Ravallion, Martin


We assess the developing world's progress in reducing poverty during the late 1980s using new data on the distribution of household consumption or income per person for 44 countries. Local currencies are adjusted to purchasing power parity. To assess robustness, restricted dominance tests are applied to the poverty comparisons. An overall decrease in poverty incidence is indicated over a wide range of poverty lines and measures. However the change is small, and numbers of poor increased at roughly the rate of population growth. The experience was diverse across regions and countries; poverty fell in South and East Asia, while it rose in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. Copyright 1994 by The International Association for Research in Income and Wealth.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen, Shaohua & Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1994. "Is Poverty Increasing in the Developing World?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 40(4), pages 359-376, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:40:y:1994:i:4:p:359-76

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Berry, Albert & Bourguignon, Francois & Morrisson, Christian, 1983. "The Level of World Inequality: How Much Can One Say?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 29(3), pages 217-241, September.
    2. Atkinson, A B, 1987. "On the Measurement of Poverty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 749-764, July.
    3. Lipton, Michael & Ravallion, Martin, 1995. "Poverty and policy," Handbook of Development Economics,in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 41, pages 2551-2657 Elsevier.
    4. Ravallion, Martin & Bidani, Benu, 1994. "How Robust Is a Poverty Profile?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 8(1), pages 75-102, January.
    5. Fields, Gary S, 1989. "Changes in Poverty and Inequality in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 4(2), pages 167-185, July.
    6. Anand, Sudhir & Kanbur, S. M. R., 1993. "The Kuznets process and the inequality--development relationship," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 25-52, February.
    7. Datt, Gaurav, 1998. "Computational tools for poverty measurement and analysis," FCND discussion papers 50, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    8. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav & van de Walle, Dominique, 1991. "Quantifying Absolute Poverty in the Developing World," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(4), pages 345-361, December.
    9. Stern, Nicholas, 1989. "The Economics of Development: A Survey," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 597-685, September.
    10. Summers, Robert & Heston, Alan, 1988. "A New Set of International Comparisons of Real Product and Price Levels Estimates for 130 Countries, 1950-1985," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(1), pages 1-25, March.
    11. 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.
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