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Poverty and Inequality in India: A Reexamination

  • Angus Deaton and Jean Drèze

    (Research Program in Development Studies Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University)

  • Jean Drèze

    (Delhi School of Economics)

This paper presents a new set of integrated poverty and inequality estimates for India and Indian states for 1987-88, 1993-94 and 1999-2000. The poverty estimates are broadly consistent with independent evidence on per-capita expenditure, state domestic product and real agricultural wages. They show that poverty decline in the 1990s proceeded more or less in line with earlier trends. Regional disparities increased in the 1990s, with the southern and western regions doing much better than the northern and eastern regions. Economic inequality also increased within states, especially within urban areas, and between urban and rural areas. We briefly examine other development indicators, relating for instance to health and education. Most indicators have continued to improve in the nineties, but social progress has followed very diverse patterns, ranging from accelerated progress in some fields to slowdown and even regression in others. We find no support for sweeping claims that the nineties have been a period of "unprecedented improvement" or "widespread impoverishment".

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Paper provided by Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics in its series Working papers with number 107.

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Length: 66 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cde:cdewps:107
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  1. Gaurav Datt & Martin Ravallion, 2002. "Is India's Economic Growth Leaving the Poor Behind?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 89-108, Summer.
  2. Gaurav Datt, 1999. "Has Poverty Declined since Economic Reforms? Statistical Data Analysis," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-31, Monash University, Department of Economics.
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