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A Comparative Perspective on Poverty Reduction in Brazil, China, and India

  • Martin Ravallion

Brazil, China, and India have seen falling poverty in their reform periods, but to varying degrees and for different reasons. History left China with favorable initial conditions for rapid poverty reduction through market-led economic growth; at the outset of the reform process there were many distortions to be removed and a relatively low inequality of access to the opportunities so created, though inequality has risen markedly since. By concentrating such opportunities in the hands of the better off, prior inequalities in various dimensions handicapped poverty reduction in both Brazil and India. Brazil's recent success in complementing market-oriented reforms with progressive social policies has helped it achieve a higher proportionate rate of poverty reduction than India, although Brazil has been less successful in terms of economic growth. In the wake of its steep rise in inequality, China might learn from Brazil's success with such policies. India needs to do more to assure that poor people are able to participate in both the country's growth process and its social policies; here there are lessons from both China and Brazil. All three countries have learned how important macroeconomic stability is to poverty reduction. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Research Observer.

Volume (Year): 26 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 71-104

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbrobs:v:26:y:2011:i:1:p:71-104
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  1. Gaurav Datt & Martin Ravallion, 1998. "Farm productivity and rural poverty in India," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(4), pages 62-85.
  2. Angus Deaton, 2003. "Measuring Poverty in a Growing World (or Measuring Growth in a Poor World)," NBER Working Papers 9822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Martin Ravallion & Gaurav Datt, 1995. "Is Targeting Through a Work Requirement Efficient? Some Evidence for Rural India," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-41, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  4. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521898010 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Jonah B. Gelbach & Lant H. Pritchett, 2000. "Indicator targeting in a political economy: Leakier can be better," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(2), pages 113-145.
  6. Ravallion, Martin, 1997. "Can high-inequality developing countries escape absolute poverty?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 51-57, September.
  7. Carsten A. Holz, 2006. "CHINA's REFORM PERIOD ECONOMIC GROWTH: HOW RELIABLE ARE ANGUS MADDISON's ESTIMATES?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 52(1), pages 85-119, 03.
  8. 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.
  9. Roland Benabou, 1996. "Inequality and Growth," NBER Working Papers 5658, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Ravallion, Martin & Shaohua Chen, 2004. "China's (uneven) progress against poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3408, The World Bank.
  11. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Leite, Phillippe G. & Litchfield, Julie A., 2008. "The Rise And Fall Of Brazilian Inequality: 1981–2004," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(S2), pages 199-230, September.
  12. Chaudhuri, Shubham & Ravallion, Martin, 2006. "Partially awakened giants : uneven growth in China and India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4069, The World Bank.
  13. Angus Maddison & Harry X. Wu, 2008. "Measuring China’s Economic Performance," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 9(2), pages 13-44, April.
  14. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1996. "Why have some Indian states done better than others at reducing rural poverty?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1594, The World Bank.
  15. L. Alan Winters & Shahid Yusuf, 2007. "Dancing with the Giants: China, India, and the Global Economy," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6632, March.
  16. Ferreira, Francisco H.G. & Leite, Phillippe G. & Ravallion, Martin, 2010. "Poverty reduction without economic growth?: Explaining Brazil's poverty dynamics, 1985-2004," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 20-36, September.
  17. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521725200 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Bandyopadhyay, Sanghamitra, 2001. "Twin Peaks: Convergence Empirics of Economic Growth across Indian States," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  19. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav & Chaudhuri, Shubham, 1993. "Does Maharashtra's Employment Guarantee Scheme Guarantee Employment? Effects of the 1988 Wage Increase," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(2), pages 251-75, January.
  20. Ariel Fiszbein & Norbert Schady & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Margaret Grosh & Niall Keleher & Pedro Olinto & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2009. "Conditional Cash Transfers : Reducing Present and Future Poverty," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2597, March.
  21. Chen, Shaohua & Ravallion, Martin, 2008. "China is poorer than we thought, but no less successful in the fight against poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4621, The World Bank.
  22. Angus Deaton, 2005. "ERRATUM: Measuring Poverty in a Growing World (or Measuring Growth in a Poor World)," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 395-395, May.
  23. Robert Ackland & Steve Dowrick & Benoit Freyens, 2013. "Measuring Global Poverty: Why PPP Methods Matter," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 813-824, July.
  24. François Bourguignon & Francisco Ferreira & Michael Walton, 2007. "Equity, efficiency and inequality traps: A research agenda," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 235-256, August.
  25. Lanjouw, Peter & Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Benefit Incidence, Public Spending Reforms, and the Timing of Program Capture," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(2), pages 257-73, May.
  26. Martin Ravallion, 0. "Decentralizing Eligibility for a Federal Antipoverty Program: A Case Study for China," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 23(1), pages 1-30.
  27. Lin, Justin Yifu, 1992. "Rural Reforms and Agricultural Growth in China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 34-51, March.
  28. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav, 2002. "Why has economic growth been more pro-poor in some states of India than others?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 381-400, August.
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