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More Than a Pretty Picture : Using Poverty Maps to Design Better Policies and Interventions


  • Tara Bedi
  • Aline Coudouel
  • Kenneth Simler


This publication offers crucial lessons for policy makers and development experts who may be considering using small area poverty maps as tools of economic development and helps add to our array of tools for dealing with the political economy issues of poverty. It represents a major contribution to a little understood aspect of the well-known adage "location, location, location," demonstrating that the conceptualization of poverty at the local level represents an important step in our fight against poverty. Insights from the diverse experiences of 12 countries are drawn together in the first two chapters, on key elements in the successful implementation and utilization of poverty maps and on the political economy of poverty maps. The case studies in the volume highlight the wide range of policies and interventions that have been influenced by poverty maps, including, but not limited to, the location of investments and services, the creation of district and municipal development plans, and the allocation of grants and fiscal transfers. They show that successfully implemented and appropriately utilized poverty maps may lead to radical shifts in the perception of poverty and in strategies designed to address poverty.

Suggested Citation

  • Tara Bedi & Aline Coudouel & Kenneth Simler, 2007. "More Than a Pretty Picture : Using Poverty Maps to Design Better Policies and Interventions," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6800, Juni.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbpubs:6800

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Minot, Nicholas, 2000. "Generating Disaggregated Poverty Maps: An Application to Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 319-331, February.
    2. Chris Elbers & Jean O. Lanjouw & Peter Lanjouw, 2003. "Micro--Level Estimation of Poverty and Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 355-364, January.
    3. Minot, Nicholas & Baulch, Bob, 2002. "The spatial distribution of poverty in Vietnam and the potential for targeting," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2829, The World Bank.
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