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The Evolution of Thinking About Poverty: Exploring the Interactions

  • Kanbur, Ravi
  • Squire, Lyn

This paper considers the evolution ofthinking about poverty since Rowntree's classic study ofpoverty in England at the turn ofthe last century. It highlights the progressive broadening ofthe definition and measurement ofpoverty, from command over market-purchased goods (income) to other dimensions ofliving standards such as longevity, literacy and healthiness, and , most recently, to concerns with risk and vulnerability, and powerlessness and lack ofvoice. The paper argues that while there is a correlation between these different dimensions, this broadening changes significantly our thinking about strategies to reduce poverty. A broader definition expands the set ofpolicies that are relevant to the reduction of poverty. But the broadening also emphasizes that poverty reducing strategies must recognize the interactions among the policies--the impact of appropriately designed combinations will be greater than the sum ofthe individual parts.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/127697
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Paper provided by Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management in its series Working Papers with number 127697.

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Date of creation: Sep 1999
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Handle: RePEc:ags:cudawp:127697
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  12. Duncan Thomas & John Strauss & Maria-Helena Henriques, 1991. "How Does Mother's Education Affect Child Height?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(2), pages 183-211.
  13. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Are the poor less well insured? Evidence on vulnerability to income risk in rural China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 61-81, February.
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  17. Thomas, D. & Strauss, J., 1997. "Health and Wages: Evidence on Men and Women in Urban Brazil," Papers 97-05, RAND - Reprint Series.
  18. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Heng-fu Zou, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 73, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  19. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 1998. "Transient Poverty in Postreform Rural China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 338-357, June.
  20. Squire, Lyn, 1993. "Fighting Poverty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 377-82, May.
  21. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1994. "Transfer Benefits from Public-Works Employment: Evidence for Rural India," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(427), pages 1346-69, November.
  22. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
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  24. Glewwe, Paul & van der Gaag, Jacques, 1990. "Identifying the poor in developing countries: Do different definitions matter?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 803-814, June.
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  26. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Paes de Barrios, Ricardo, 1999. "The slippery slope : explaining the increase in extreme poverty in urban Brazil, 1976-96," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2210, The World Bank.
  27. Mark McGillivray & Howard White, 1993. "Measuring development? The UNDP's human development index," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(2), pages 183-192, 03.
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