IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/got/gotcrc/109.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

An African Growth Miracle? Or: What do Asset Indices Tell Us about Trends in Economic Performance?

Author

Listed:
  • Kenneth Harttgen

    (University of Zürich, Nadel)

  • Stephan Klasen

    (Georg-August-University Göttingen)

  • Sebastian Vollmer

    (University of Hannover)

Abstract

Using changes in the possession of household assets over the past 20 years, several recent papers have argued that economic performance in Arica was substantially better than suggested by national income data and income poverty statistics, who suffer from well-known weaknesses. We scrutinize these claims and first argue that trends in assets provide biased proxies for trends in incomes or consumption. In particular we show that the relationship between growth in assets and growth in incomes or consumption is extremely weak; instead, we find evidence of asset drift using macro and micro data, which is consistent with the claims we make about possible biases in the use of asset indices. As a result, we find no evidence supporting the claim of an African growth miracle that extends beyond what has been reported in GDP/capita and consumption figures.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth Harttgen & Stephan Klasen & Sebastian Vollmer, 2012. "An African Growth Miracle? Or: What do Asset Indices Tell Us about Trends in Economic Performance?," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 109, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  • Handle: RePEc:got:gotcrc:109
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www2.vwl.wiso.uni-goettingen.de/courant-papers/CRC-PEG_DP_109.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Harttgen, Kenneth & Klasen, Stephan, 2012. "A Household-Based Human Development Index," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 878-899.
    2. Alwyn Young, 2012. "The African Growth Miracle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(4), pages 696-739.
    3. Sahn, David E. & Stifel, David C., 2000. "Poverty Comparisons Over Time and Across Countries in Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 2123-2155, December.
    4. Deon Filmer & Lant Pritchett, 2001. "Estimating Wealth Effects Without Expenditure Data—Or Tears: An Application To Educational Enrollments In States Of India," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(1), pages 115-132, February.
    5. David Stifel & Luc Christiaensen, 2007. "Tracking Poverty Over Time in the Absence of Comparable Consumption Data," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 317-341, June.
    6. Xavier Sala-i-Martin & Maxim Pinkovskiy, 2010. "African Poverty is Falling...Much Faster than You Think!," NBER Working Papers 15775, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. David E. Sahn & David Stifel, 2003. "Exploring Alternative Measures of Welfare in the Absence of Expenditure Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 49(4), pages 463-489, December.
    8. J. Vernon Henderson & Adam Storeygard & David N. Weil, 2012. "Measuring Economic Growth from Outer Space," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 994-1028, April.
    9. Alwyn Young, 2012. "The African Growth Miracle," NBER Working Papers 18490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. David McKenzie, 2005. "Measuring inequality with asset indicators," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 18(2), pages 229-260, June.
    11. Surjit S. Bhalla, 2004. "Poor Results and Poorer Policy: A Comparative Analysis of Estimates of Global Inequality and Poverty," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 50(1), pages 85-132.
    12. Angus Deaton & Valerie Kozel, 2005. "Data and Dogma: The Great Indian Poverty Debate," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 20(2), pages 177-199.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Fernandes, Cristina & Fernandes, Cristina & Crespo, Nuno & Simoes, Nadia, 2016. "Poverty, richness, and inequality: Evidence for Portugal using a housing comfort index," Journal of Economic and Social Measurement, IOS Press, issue 4, pages 371-394.
    2. Harttgen, Kenneth & Klasen, Stephan, 2012. "A Household-Based Human Development Index," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 878-899.
    3. Kashif Imran & Evelyn S. Devadason & Cheong Kee Cheok, 2019. "Developmental Impacts of Remittances on Migrant-Sending Households: Micro-Level Evidence from Punjab, Pakistan," Journal of South Asian Development, , vol. 14(3), pages 338-366, December.
    4. Janina Isabel Steinert & Lucie Dale Cluver & G. J. Melendez-Torres & Sebastian Vollmer, 2018. "One Size Fits All? The Validity of a Composite Poverty Index Across Urban and Rural Households in South Africa," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 136(1), pages 51-72, February.
    5. Patrick Ward, 2014. "Measuring the Level and Inequality of Wealth: An Application to China," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(4), pages 613-635, December.
    6. Maxim L. Pinkovskiy & Xavier X. Sala-i-Martin, 2014. "Lights, camera,...income! Estimating poverty using national accounts, survey means, and lights," Staff Reports 669, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    7. Dang,Hai-Anh H. & Lanjouw,Peter F. & Serajuddin,Umar & Dang,Hai-Anh H. & Lanjouw,Peter F. & Serajuddin,Umar, 2014. "Updating poverty estimates at frequent intervals in the absence of consumption data : methods and illustration with reference to a middle-income country," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7043, The World Bank.
    8. Deon Filmer & Kinnon Scott, 2012. "Assessing Asset Indices," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(1), pages 359-392, February.
    9. Dang,Hai-Anh H., 2018. "To impute or not to impute ? a review of alternative poverty estimation methods in the context of unavailable consumption data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8403, The World Bank.
    10. Baris Ucar, 2015. "The Usability of Asset Index as an Indicator of Household Economic Status in Turkey: Comparison with Expenditure and Income Data," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 121(3), pages 745-760, April.
    11. Permanyer, Iñaki, 2013. "Using Census Data to Explore the Spatial Distribution of Human Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 1-13.
    12. Harttgen, Kenneth & Vollmer, Sebastian, 2013. "Using an asset index to simulate household income," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(2), pages 257-262.
    13. Dang, Hai-Anh & Lanjouw, Peter F., 2021. "Data Scarcity and Poverty Measurement," IZA Discussion Papers 14631, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Winters, P. & Kafle, K. & Benfica, R., 2018. "IFAD RESEARCH SERIES 21 - Does relative deprivation induce migration? Evidence from sub-Saharan Africa," IFAD Research Series 280070, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
    15. Hai‐Anh Dang & Dean Jolliffe & Calogero Carletto, 2019. "Data Gaps, Data Incomparability, And Data Imputation: A Review Of Poverty Measurement Methods For Data‐Scarce Environments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(3), pages 757-797, July.
    16. Carlo Azzarri & Gero Carletto & Benjamin Davis & Alberto Zezza, 2006. "Monitoring Poverty Without Consumption Data : An Application Using the Albania Panel Survey," Eastern European Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(1), pages 59-82, February.
    17. Grimm, Michael & Harttgen, Kenneth & Klasen, Stephan & Misselhorn, Mark, 2008. "A Human Development Index by Income Groups," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 2527-2546, December.
    18. Bérenger, Valérie & Deutsch, Joseph & Silber, Jacques, 2013. "Durable goods, access to services and the derivation of an asset index: Comparing two methodologies and three countries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 881-891.
    19. Kafle, Kashi & Jolliffe, Dean & Winter-Nelson, Alex, 2018. "Do different types of assets have differential effects on child education? Evidence from Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 14-28.
    20. Christina Paxson & Norbert Schady, 2007. "Cognitive Development among Young Children in Ecuador: The Roles of Wealth, Health, and Parenting," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(1).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Asset index; GDP growth; Africa;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:got:gotcrc:109. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.uni-goettingen.de/en/82144.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Dominik Noe (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.uni-goettingen.de/en/82144.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.