IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/taf/jdevst/v42y2006i4p592-610.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Trends in poverty and destitution in Wollo, Ethiopia

Author

Listed:
  • Stephen Devereux
  • Kay Sharp

Abstract

According to several studies, poverty in rural Ethiopia has fallen significantly since the early 1990s, thanks to improved governance and economic liberalisation policies. This paper presents several arguments that challenge this view. The first questions the methodological foundations of the data from which these positive trends are derived: we argue that the original sampling frame was too small and unrepresentative to provide a basis for extrapolating national poverty levels or trends. The second argument questions the conceptual underpinnings of these studies: poverty estimates based on levels of current consumption fail to allow for non-income dimensions of wellbeing, nor for confounding factors such as seasonality, annual rainfall and food aid receipts. The third strand considers alternative sources of data on changes in wellbeing in Ethiopia: recent qualitative studies report that the poor perceive themselves as poorer and more vulnerable than poverty headcount figures suggest. Finally, we report findings from our own survey in chronically poor and historically famine-prone Wollo. First, a significant proportion of households in the study area are destitute - destitution being defined as inability to meet basic needs, lack of key productive assets, and dependence on transfers. Secondly, the numbers of destitute people, and of people vulnerable to becoming destitute, have increased over the past ten years. Thirdly, the crisis of livelihoods underlying this trend is affecting entire communities - the dominant pattern is an aggregate downward shift, rather than stratification - and the decline of wealthier households is exacerbating the vulnerability of the poorest. These findings cast serious doubts on generalisations about poverty trends in Ethiopia. At the very least, national-level data need to be disaggregated: improving national trends may conceal pockets of entrenched poverty and a deepening livelihoods crisis in parts of rural Ethiopia.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Devereux & Kay Sharp, 2006. "Trends in poverty and destitution in Wollo, Ethiopia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(4), pages 592-610.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:42:y:2006:i:4:p:592-610
    DOI: 10.1080/00220380600681910
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00220380600681910
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 1997. "What Can New Survey Data Tell Us about Recent Changes in Distribution and Poverty?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 357-382, May.
    2. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2002. "Growth Is Good for the Poor," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 195-225, September.
    3. Bigsten, Arne & Kebede, Bereket & Shimeles, Abebe & Taddesse, Mekonnen, 2003. "Growth and Poverty Reduction in Ethiopia: Evidence from Household Panel Surveys," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 87-106, January.
    4. Kherallah, Mylène & Delgado, Christopher L. & Gabre-Madhin, Eleni Z. & Minot, Nicholas & Johnson, Michael, 2002. "Reforming agricultural markets in Africa," Food policy statements 38, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Philippa Bevan & Sandra Fullerton Joireman, 1997. "The perils of measuring poverty: Identifying the 'poor' in rural Ethiopia," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(3), pages 315-343.
    6. Deepa Narayan & Robert Chambers & Meera K. Shah & Patti Petesch, 2000. "Voices of the Poor : Crying Out for Change," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13848, August.
    7. Block, S. & Webb, P., 2001. "The dynamics of livelihood diversification in post-famine Ethiopia," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 333-350, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Villegas, Laura & Smith, Vincent H. & Atwood, Joe & Belasco, Eric, 2. "Does Participation In Public Works Programs Encourage Fertilizer Use In Rural Ethiopia?," International Journal of Food and Agricultural Economics (IJFAEC), Alanya Alaaddin Keykubat University, Department of Economics and Finance, vol. 4(2).
    2. Ambaye, Guesh Gebremeske, 2012. "Perception of Poverty by Ethiopian Rural Households: Using a Self Reported approach," AGRIS on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Economics and Management, vol. 4(4), December.
    3. Shaffer, Paul, 2013. "Ten Years of “Q-Squared”: Implications for Understanding and Explaining Poverty," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 269-285.
    4. Sharp, Kay, 2007. "Squaring the "Q"s? Methodological Reflections on a Study of Destitution in Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 264-280, February.
    5. Schleicher, Michael & Souares, Aurélia & Pacere, Athanase Narangoro & Sauerborn, Rainer & Klonner, Stefan, 2016. "Decentralized versus Statistical Targeting of Anti-Poverty Programs: Evidence from Burkina Faso," Working Papers 0623, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    6. Laura Camfield & Keetie Roelen, 2013. "Household Trajectories in Rural Ethiopia: What Can a Mixed Method Approach Tell Us About the Impact of Poverty on Children?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 113(2), pages 729-749, September.

    More about this item

    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:taf:jdevst:v:42:y:2006:i:4:p:592-610. 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: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: http://www.tandfonline.com/FJDS20 .

    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 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.

    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.