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Revisiting cross-country poverty convergence in the developing world with a special focus on Sub-Saharan Africa

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  • Ouyang, Yusi
  • Shimeles, Abebe
  • Thorbecke, Erik

Abstract

The literature on poverty convergence is sparse and much of the empirical evidence relies on Ravallion (2012) who found a lack of poverty convergence across some ninety Less Developed Countries (LDCs) during 1980–2007. This paper revisits cross-country poverty convergence using data from the same sources but an extended period of 1980–2014. We find that while poverty convergence remains absent across LDCs, it is present in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) during the extended period. Initial poverty canceling the effectiveness of growth in reducing poverty explains the lack of poverty convergence across LDCs; while a strong growth effect dominating the adverse effect of initial poverty on growth effectiveness explains the strong poverty convergence found in SSA. A direct adverse link between initial poverty and subsequent growth – which Ravallion (2012) recognized as the main impediment to poverty convergence during 1980–2007 – is not found in this study.

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  • Ouyang, Yusi & Shimeles, Abebe & Thorbecke, Erik, 2019. "Revisiting cross-country poverty convergence in the developing world with a special focus on Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 13-28.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:117:y:2019:i:c:p:13-28
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2018.12.017
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cross-country poverty convergence; Growth; Poverty; Less Developed Countries (LDCs); Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA);
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

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