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Economic reform, growth and the poor: evidence from rural Ethiopia

  • Stefan Dercon

Using micro-level panel data from villages in rural Ethiopia, the paper uses standard decompositions of income changes and develops a new decomposition of poverty changes to analyse the determinants of growth and poverty changes during a period of economic reform (1989-95). Consumption grew and poverty fell substantially, but the experience was mixed. I find that common and idiosyncratic shocks mattered, but that the main factors driving income changes are relative price changes, resulting in changes in the returns to land, labour, human capital and location. A regression-based decomposition of the changes in poverty shows that the poor have benefited on average more from the reforms than the non-poor households. But the experience of the poor is mixed: one group of the poor in 1989, with relatively good land, labour and location, outperformed all other households, while another group with much poorer endowments and location experienced virtually unchanged and persistent poverty.

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Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2001-08.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2001-08
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  1. Webb, Patrick & von Braun, Joachim & Yohannes, Yisehac, 1992. "Famine in Ethiopia: policy implications of coping failure at national and household levels," Research reports 92, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  2. Stefan Dercon & Pramila Krishnan, 2000. "Vulnerability, seasonality and poverty in Ethiopia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 25-53.
  3. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
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  6. Deaton, Angus, 1989. "Rice Prices and Income Distribution in Thailand: A Non-parametric Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(395), pages 1-37, Supplemen.
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  9. Ronald Oaxaca, 1971. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," Working Papers 396, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  10. Ravallion, Martin & Bidani, Benu, 1994. "How Robust Is a Poverty Profile?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 8(1), pages 75-102, January.
  11. Grootaert, Christiaan, 1995. "Structural change and poverty in Africa: A decomposition anakysis for Cote d'Ivoire," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 375-401, August.
  12. Azam, Jean-Paul & Bevan, David & Collier, Paul & Dercon, Stefan & Gunning, Jan & Pradhan, Sanjay, 1995. "Some economic consequences of the transition from civil war to peace," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1392, The World Bank.
  13. de Janvry, Alain & Fafchamps, Marcel & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 1991. "Peasant Household Behaviour with Missing Markets: Some Paradoxes Explained," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(409), pages 1400-417, November.
  14. Kakwani, Nanak, 1993. "Statistical Inference in the Measurement of Poverty," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(4), pages 632-39, November.
  15. Bourguignon, Francois & de Melo, Jaime & Morrisson, Christian, 1991. "Poverty and income distribution during adjustment : issues and evidence from the OECD project," Policy Research Working Paper Series 810, The World Bank.
  16. Ravallion, Martin, 1990. "Rural Welfare Effects of Food Price Changes under Induced Wage Responses: Theory and Evidence for Bangladesh," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(3), pages 574-85, July.
  17. Michael Lokshin & Martin Ravallion, 2000. "Welfare Impacts of the 1998 Financial Crisis in Russia and the Response of the Public Safety Net," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 8(2), pages 269-295, July.
  18. Ravallion, Martin & van de Walle, Dominique & Gautam, Madhur, 1995. "Testing a social safety net," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 175-199, June.
  19. Lipton, Michael & Ravallion, Martin, 1993. "Poverty and policy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1130, The World Bank.
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