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Who is not Poor? Proposing a Higher International Standard for Poverty

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  • Lant Pritchett

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Abstract

Poverty reduction is now, and quite properly should remain, the primary objective of the World Bank. But, when the World Bank dreams of a world free of poverty—what should it be dreaming? I argue in this essay that the dream should be a bold one, that treats citizens of all nations equally in defining poverty, and that sets a high standard for what eliminating poverty will mean for human well-being. I propose a new standard for global income poverty for the World Bank’s use. This poverty line is the weighted average of the poverty lines declared by its shareholders, where the declared poverty line is no lower than the country uses for its own citizens. I show this will imply a poverty line of around U.S.$15 a day in current purchasing power adjusted currency units—about ten times higher than the existing standard.

Suggested Citation

  • Lant Pritchett, 2003. "Who is not Poor? Proposing a Higher International Standard for Poverty," Working Papers 33, Center for Global Development.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:33
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    File URL: http://www.cgdev.org/content/publications/detail/2758
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    Cited by:

    1. Scott Morris & Madeleine Gleave, 2016. "The World Bank at 75," Journal of International Commerce, Economics and Policy (JICEP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 7(01), pages 1-39, February.
    2. ALi Abdel Gadir Ali, "undated". "Poverty in the Arab Region: A Selective Review," API-Working Paper Series 0402, Arab Planning Institute - Kuwait, Information Center.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    poverty; World Bank; human well-being;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations

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