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Can sustainable poverty reduction be achieved with little or no economic growth? The case of Jamaica


  • Denis Medvedev
  • Zafer Mustafaoglu
  • Andresa Lagerborg
  • Michiel Paris


Can poverty decline with little growth in real GDP? This paper examines the case of Jamaica, where the poverty headcount halved between 2003 and 2007 despite real per capita GDP growth of just 1.1 percent per year, by analyzing the factors contributing to the observed reduction in poverty using household and labor force surveys. It sets out by providing a sectoral, demographic, and spatial picture of the evolution of poverty and finds that poverty reduction has been broad based, benefitting both rural and urban areas. Nearly three quarters of the poverty reduction is attributed to growth in average household consumption, which outpaced GDP growth due to large remittance inflows, and one quarter to narrowing inequality. In turn, around half of the reduction of inequality is explained by narrowing returns to education and declining sectoral wage gaps.

Suggested Citation

  • Denis Medvedev & Zafer Mustafaoglu & Andresa Lagerborg & Michiel Paris, 2013. "Can sustainable poverty reduction be achieved with little or no economic growth? The case of Jamaica," Review of Economics and Institutions, Università di Perugia, vol. 4(1).
  • Handle: RePEc:pia:review:v:4:y:2013:i:1:n:4

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    More about this item


    Jamaica; poverty; inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials


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