IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/reecon/v71y2017i2p306-336.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Growth, inequality, and poverty reduction in developing countries: Recent global evidence

Author

Listed:
  • Fosu, Augustin Kwasi

Abstract

The study presents comparative global evidence on the transformation of economic growth to poverty reduction in developing countries, with emphasis on the role of income inequality. The focus is on the period since the early-mid-1990s when growth in these countries as a group has been relatively strong, surpassing that of the advanced economies. Both regional and country-specific data are analyzed for the $1.25 and $2.50-level poverty headcount ratios using World Bank Povcalnet data. The study finds that on average income growth has been the major driving force behind both the declines and increases in poverty. The study, however, documents substantial regional and country differences that are masked by this ‘average’ dominant-growth story. While in the majority of countries, growth was the major factor behind falling or increasing poverty, inequality, nevertheless, played the crucial role in poverty behavior in a large number of countries. And, even in those countries where growth has been the main driver of poverty-reduction, further progress could have occurred under relatively favorable income distribution. For more efficient policymaking, therefore, idiosyncratic attributes of countries should be emphasized. In general, high initial levels of inequality limit the effectiveness of growth in reducing poverty while growing inequality increases poverty directly for a given level of growth. It would seem judicious, therefore, to accord special attention to reducing inequality in certain countries where income distribution is especially unfavorable. Unfortunately, the present study also points to the limited effects of growth and inequality-reducing policies in low-income countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Fosu, Augustin Kwasi, 2017. "Growth, inequality, and poverty reduction in developing countries: Recent global evidence," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 306-336.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:reecon:v:71:y:2017:i:2:p:306-336
    DOI: 10.1016/j.rie.2016.05.005
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1090944316300862
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.rie.2016.05.005?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    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. Theo S Eicher & Cecilia Garcia Penalosa, "undated". "Inequality and Growth," Working Papers 0083, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
    2. Augustin Kwasi Fosu, 2010. "Inequality, Income, and Poverty: Comparative Global Evidence," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1432-1446, December.
    3. Augustin Kwasi Fosu, 2010. "Inequality, Income, and Poverty: Comparative Global Evidence," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 91(s1), pages 1432-1446.
    4. Fosu, Augustin Kwasi, 2010. "Does inequality constrain poverty reduction programs? Evidence from Africa," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 818-827, November.
    5. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2002. "Growth Is Good for the Poor," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 195-225, September.
    6. Ravallion, Martin, 1997. "Can high-inequality developing countries escape absolute poverty?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 51-57, September.
    7. Ali Abdel Gadir Ali & Erik Thorbecke, 2000. "The State and Path of Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa: some Preliminary Results," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 9(Supplemen), pages 9-40.
    8. Augustin Kwasi Fosu, 2008. "Inequality and the growth-poverty nexus: specification empirics using African data," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(7), pages 563-566.
    9. World Bank & International Monetary Fund, 2006. "Global Monitoring Report 2006 : Millennium Development Goals - Strengthening Mutual Accountability, Aid, Trade, and Governance," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6970.
    10. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Growth, Inequality and Poverty: Looking Beyond Averages," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1803-1815, November.
    11. Augustin Kwasi Fosu, 2010. "Inequality, Income, and Poverty: Comparative Global Evidence," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1432-1446, December.
    12. 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 121-139, June.
    13. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 2007. "China's (uneven) progress against poverty," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 1-42, January.
    14. 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.
    15. Ms. Anne Epaulard, 2003. "Macroeconomic Performance and Poverty Reduction," IMF Working Papers 2003/072, International Monetary Fund.
    16. Augustin Kwasi Fosu, 2015. "Growth, Inequality and Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa: Recent Progress in a Global Context," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(1), pages 44-59, March.
    17. Augustin Kwasi Fosu, 2009. "Inequality and the Impact of Growth on Poverty: Comparative Evidence for Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(5), pages 726-745.
    18. Fosu, Augustin K., 2010. "Income Distribution and Growth’s Ability to Reduce Poverty: Evidence from Rural and Urban African Economies," WIDER Working Paper Series 092, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    19. 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.
    20. Kalwij, Adriaan & Verschoor, Arjan, 2007. "Not by growth alone: The role of the distribution of income in regional diversity in poverty reduction," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 805-829, May.
    21. Nanak Kakwani, 1993. "Poverty And Economic Growth With Application To Côte D'Ivoire," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(2), pages 121-139, June.
    22. Ravallion, M. & Datt, G., 1991. "Growth and Redistribution Components of Changes in Poverty Measures," Papers 83, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
    23. Adams, Richard Jr., 2004. "Economic Growth, Inequality and Poverty: Estimating the Growth Elasticity of Poverty," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(12), pages 1989-2014, December.
    24. 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. Asongu, Simplice A. & Nwachukwu, Jacinta C., 2017. "Quality of Growth Empirics: Comparative gaps, benchmarking and policy syndromes," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 861-882.
    2. Oasis Kodila-Tedika & Simplice A. Asongu & Julio Mukendi Kayembe, 2016. "Middle Class in Africa: Determinants and Consequences," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(4), pages 527-549, October.
    3. Simplice Asongu, 2016. "Reinventing Foreign Aid For Inclusive And Sustainable Development: Kuznets, Piketty And The Great Policy Reversal," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(4), pages 736-755, September.
    4. Simplice A. Asongu & Jacinta C. Nwachukwu, 2018. "Recent finance advances in information technology for inclusive development: a systematic review," Netnomics, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 65-93, October.
    5. Simplice Asongu & Jacinta C. Nwachukwu, 2017. "Recent finance advances in information technology for inclusive development: a survey," Working Papers of the African Governance and Development Institute. 17/009, African Governance and Development Institute..
    6. Asongu, Simplice, 2014. "Reinventing foreign aid for inclusive and sustainable development: a survey," MPRA Paper 65300, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Simplice A. Asongu & Jacinta C. Nwachukwu, 2016. "Rational Asymmetric Development, Piketty and Poverty in Africa," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 13(2), pages 221-246, December.
    8. Simplice A. Asongu & Lieven De Moor, 2015. "Recent advances in finance for inclusive development: a survey," Research Africa Network Working Papers 15/005, Research Africa Network (RAN).
    9. Simplice A. Asongu & Jacinta C. Nwachukwu, 2016. "Mobile Phone Penetration, Mobile Banking and Inclusive Development in Africa," The African Finance Journal, Africagrowth Institute, vol. 18(1), pages 34-52.
    10. Asongu, Simplice, 2015. "Rational Asymmetric Development, Piketty and the Spirit of Poverty in Africa," MPRA Paper 67301, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Augustin Kwasi Fosu, 2018. "The Recent Growth Resurgence in Africa and Poverty Reduction: The Context and Evidence," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 27(1), pages 92-107.
    12. Augustin Kwasi Fosu, 2009. "Inequality and the Impact of Growth on Poverty: Comparative Evidence for Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(5), pages 726-745.
    13. Ngepah, Nicholas & Espoir, Delphin Kamanda, 2018. "Binding constraints of economic growth on poverty: A dynamic panel data analysis," MPRA Paper 92136, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 15 Oct 2018.
    14. Simplice Asongu & Ndemaze Asongu, 2017. "Comparative Determinants of Quality of Growth in Developing Countries," Working Papers of the African Governance and Development Institute. 17/013, African Governance and Development Institute..
    15. Simplice A. Asongu & Jacinta C. Nwachukwu, 2017. "Foreign Aid and Inclusive Development: Updated Evidence from Africa, 2005–2012," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 98(1), pages 282-298, March.
    16. Asongu, Simplice, 2014. "A brief clarification to the questionable economics of foreign aid for inclusive human development," MPRA Paper 64458, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Augustin Kwasi Fosu, 2010. "Inequality, Income, and Poverty: Comparative Global Evidence," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1432-1446, December.
    18. Simplice Asongu & Uchenna Efobi & Ibukun Beecroft, 2015. "Inclusive Human Development in Pre-crisis Times of Globalization-driven Debts," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 27(4), pages 428-442, December.
    19. Simplice Asongu & Jacinta Nwachukwu & Sara le Roux, 2019. "The role of inclusive development and military expenditure in modulating the effect of terrorism on governance," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 46(3), pages 681-709, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Growth; Inequality; Poverty; Developing countries;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O49 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Other
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

    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:eee:reecon:v:71:y:2017:i:2:p:306-336. 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: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622941 .

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622941 .

    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.