Can high-inequality developing countries escape absolute poverty?
Do the poor face the same prospects for escaping poverty in high-inequality developing countries as in low-inequality countries? Is it possible for inequality to be so great as to stifle prospects of reducing absolute poverty, even when other initial conditions and policies are favorable to growth? Household survey data for developing countries suggest that initial distribution does affect how much the poor share in rising average incomes. Higher initial inequality tends to reduce growth's impact on absolute poverty. By the same token, higher inequality diminishes the adverse impact on the poor of general economic contraction. Combining this evidence with that from recent investigations of inequality's effect on growth, the author finds that, if inequality is high enough, countries that would have very good growth prospects at low levels of inequality may see little or no overall growth and little progress in reducing poverty - or even a worsening on both counts. The data the author uses suggest that such cases do occur. The precision with which key parameters have been estimated makes it difficult to say with confidence how common such cases are, but they appear to be in the minority. What appear to be the best available estimates suggest that about one-fifth of the spells between surveys he analyzed were cases in which poverty was rising, yet positive growth in the mean (and hence falling poverty) is predicted at zero inequality. Inequality can be high enough to result in rising poverty despite good underlying growth prospects.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Fields, Gary S, 1989. "Changes in Poverty and Inequality in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 4(2), pages 167-85, July.
- Clarke, George R. G., 1995.
"More evidence on income distribution and growth,"
Journal of Development Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 403-427, August.
- 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.
- Roland Bénabou, 1996.
"Inequality and Growth,"
in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11, pages 11-92
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Roland Benabou, 1996. "Inequality and Growth," NBER Working Papers 5658, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bénabou, Roland, 1996. "Inequality and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1450, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Benabou, R., 1996. "Inequality and Growth," Working Papers 96-22, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
- Lipton, Michael & Ravallion, Martin, 1993.
"Poverty and policy,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
1130, The World Bank.
- Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1993.
"Is Inequality Harmful for Growth,"
537, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
- Kakwani, Nanak, 1993. "Poverty and Economic Growth with Application to Cote d'Ivoire," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(2), pages 121-39, June.
- 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 345-61, December.
- Squire, Lyn, 1993. "Fighting Poverty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 377-82, May.
- Alesina, Alberto F & Rodrik, Dani, 1991.
"Distributive Politics and Economic Growth,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
565, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Rodrik, Dani & Alesina, Alberto, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4551798, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 1997.
"What Can New Survey Data Tell Us about Recent Changes in Distribution and Poverty?,"
World Bank Economic Review,
World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 357-82, May.
- Ravallion, Martin & Shaohua Chen, 1996. "What can new survey data tell us about recent changes in distribution and poverty?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1694, The World Bank.
- 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.
- Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:56:y:1997:i:1:p:51-57. 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: (Zhang, Lei)
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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.