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The effect of growth on poverty reduction


  • Jaya Krishnakumar
  • Cristian Ugarte


The aim of this paper is to understand the impact of growth on poverty reduction in a right-skewed income distribution setting. Ex- isting literature focuses on the effect of aggregate growth on the mean income of the poor by means of a regression of the latter on the for- mer. This, however, neglects the effect of other distributional changes (e.g. inequality change) on the income of the poor thus making the above regression misspecified. This paper proposes a suitable theoret- ical framework consistent with the right-skewness for examining the growth impact on poverty taking inequality (dispersion) into account. We show that an economic policy that positively affects the median income of the distribution has a proportional change on the median income of the poor, whatever be the change in inequality. On the other hand, when a policy has a positive impact on the mean income, its effect on the mean income of the poor can be uncertain depending on the accompanying change in inequality. This is illustrated by sim- ulations as well as an empirical application.

Suggested Citation

  • Jaya Krishnakumar & Cristian Ugarte, 2011. "The effect of growth on poverty reduction," Research Papers by the Institute of Economics and Econometrics, Geneva School of Economics and Management, University of Geneva 11061, Institut d'Economie et Econométrie, Université de Genève.
  • Handle: RePEc:gen:geneem:11061

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Ravallion, Martin & Huppi, Monika, 1991. "Measuring Changes in Poverty: A Methodological Case Study of Indonesia during an Adjustment Period," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 5(1), pages 57-82, January.
    6. Ferreira, Francisco H.G. & Leite, Phillippe G. & Ravallion, Martin, 2010. "Poverty reduction without economic growth?: Explaining Brazil's poverty dynamics, 1985-2004," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 20-36, September.
    7. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 2003. "Measuring pro-poor growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 93-99, January.
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    9. David Dollar & Aart Kraay, 2004. "Trade, Growth, and Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(493), pages 22-49, February.
    10. Lombardo Vincenzo, 2011. "Growth and Inequality Effects on Poverty Reduction in Italy," Rivista italiana degli economisti, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 241-280.
    11. Son, Hyun Hwa, 2004. "A note on pro-poor growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 307-314, March.
    12. Lopez, Humberto & Serven, Luis, 2006. "A normal relationship ? Poverty, growth, and inequality," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3814, The World Bank.
    13. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav, 2002. "Why has economic growth been more pro-poor in some states of India than others?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 381-400, August.
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