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Is There a Metropolitan Bias? The relationship between poverty and city size in a selection of developing countries

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  • Céline Ferré
  • Francisco H.G. Ferreira
  • Peter Lanjouw

Abstract

This paper provides evidence from eight developing countries of an inverse relationship between poverty and city size. Poverty is both more widespread and deeper in very small and small towns than in large or very large cities. This basic pattern is generally robust to the choice of poverty line. The paper shows, further, that for all eight countries, a majority of the urban poor live in medium, small or very small towns. Moreover, it is shown that the greater incidence and severity of consumption poverty in smaller towns is generally compounded by similarly greater deprivation in terms of access to basic infrastructure services, such as electricity, heating gas, sewerage and solid waste disposal. We illustrate for one country -- Morocco -- that inequality within large cities is not driven by a severe dichotomy between slum dwellers and others. Robustness checks are performed to assess whether the findings in the paper hinge on a specific definition of 'urban area'-- are driven by differences in the cost of living across city-size categories; by reliance on an income-based concept of well-being; or by the application of small-area estimation techniques for estimating poverty rates at the town and city level. Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Céline Ferré & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Peter Lanjouw, 2012. "Is There a Metropolitan Bias? The relationship between poverty and city size in a selection of developing countries," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 26(3), pages 351-382.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:26:y:2012:i:3:p:351-382
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/wber/lhs007
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Christiaensen,Luc & Kanbur,Ravi, 2016. "Secondary towns and poverty reduction : refocusing the urbanization agenda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7895, The World Bank.
    2. Luc Christiaensen & Joachim De Weerdt & Ravi Kanbur, 2017. "Cities, towns, and poverty: Migration equilibrium and income distribution in a Todaro-type model with multiple destinations," Working Papers 434, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    3. Jedwab, Remi & Christiaensen, Luc & Gindelsky, Marina, 2017. "Demography, urbanization and development: Rural push, urban pull and…urban push?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 6-16.
    4. repec:eee:wdevel:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:413-429 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. World Bank Group, 2015. "Poverty and Shared Prosperity in Brazil's Metropolitan Regions," World Bank Other Operational Studies 22316, The World Bank.
    6. Joachim Vandercasteelen & Seneshaw Tamru & Bart Minten & Johan Swinnen, 2017. "Secondary towns, agricultural prices, and intensification: Evidence from Ethiopia," LICOS Discussion Papers 39317, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    7. Christiaensen, Luc & Todo, Yasuyuki, 2014. "Poverty Reduction During the Rural–Urban Transformation – The Role of the Missing Middle," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 43-58.
    8. Luc Christiaensen & Joachim De Weerdt & Ravi Kanbur, 2017. "Cities, Towns, and Poverty: Migration Equilibrium and Income Distribution in a Todaro-type Model with Multiple Destinations," Working Papers id:11955, eSocialSciences.
    9. Luc Christiaensen & Joachim De Weerdt & Ravi Kanbur, 2017. "Cities, Towns, and Poverty: Migration Equilibrium and Income Distribution in a Todaro-type Model with Multiple Destinations," LICOS Discussion Papers 39517, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    10. Tsvetkova, Alexandra & Partridge, Mark & Betz, Micael, 2016. "Entrepreneurial and Wage and Salary Employment Response to Economic Conditions Across the Rural-Urban Continuum," MPRA Paper 75781, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Gibson, John & Datt, Gaurav & Murgai, Rinku & Ravallion, Martin, 2017. "For India’s Rural Poor, Growing Towns Matter More Than Growing Cities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 413-429.
    12. Chuhan-Pole Punam & Francisco H.G. Ferreira, "undated". "Africa's Pulse, October 2014," World Bank Other Operational Studies 20870, The World Bank.
    13. Berdegué, Julio A. & Carriazo, Fernando & Jara, Benjamín & Modrego, Félix & Soloaga, Isidro, 2015. "Cities, Territories, and Inclusive Growth: Unraveling Urban–Rural Linkages in Chile, Colombia, and Mexico," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 56-71.

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