IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

From Growth to Poverty Reduction: a New Conceptual Framework in Development Economics

  • Nicole Alice Sindzingre


    (EconomiX - CNRS : UMR7166 - Université Paris X - Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense)

Since the 1990s, poverty and the ways to reducing it have become a central paradigm in development economics, not only in academia but among the international financial institutions (the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund). Indeed, after WWII, thinking on development was focused on growth. A major shift occurred in the late 1990s, which has consisted in the replacement of 'growth' or 'development' as a goal of policymakers and international institutions and a central theme of research in development economics, by poverty and its reduction, together with an expansion of the meanings of the concept of poverty. The key points of the paper are that this shift represents a crucial turning point in the conceptual framework of economic thought regarding developing countries. It represents a narrowing of the agenda of governments vis-à-vis the previous one of growth and development, and the acceptance that development is no longer the priority goal of public policies, of governments and their citizens, and that the previous actions, policies and research elaborated over decades since the beginnings of development economics were in fine a failure. This shift is also an implicit substitution of difficult objectives with highly complex causal processes for concepts that can be measured and easier short-terms goals, such as lifting up specific groups of a population above a poverty line. These new objectives are also more consensual and attractive. The paper firstly presents key steps of the evolution of the thinking in development economics since WWII, then critically assesses the conceptual framework that has emerged at the end of the 20th century regarding poverty in developing countries, in particular its multidimensionality and the pre-eminence of measurement issues and quantification. It finally analyses the associated shift in policy-making as a result of reciprocal exchanges between academic research and policymakers and donors, which have helped to consolidate the new paradigm.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number halshs-00648001.

in new window

Date of creation: 27 Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published - Presented, "Poverty and Misery in the History of Economic Thought", 2008, Lille, France
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00648001
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server:
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Shaohua Chen & Martin Ravallion, 2010. "The Developing World Is Poorer Than We Thought, but No Less Successful in the Fight Against Poverty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1577-1625, November.
  2. Theo S Eicher & Cecilia Garcia Penalosa, . "Inequality and Growth," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 0083, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  3. Ravallion, Martin, 2005. "Inequality is bad for the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3677, The World Bank.
  4. Srinivasan, T N, 1994. "Human Development: A New Paradigm or Reinvention of the Wheel?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 238-43, May.
  5. Ricardo Hausmann & Lant Pritchett & Dani Rodrik, 2004. "Growth Accelerations," NBER Working Papers 10566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Arbache, Jorge Saba & Page, John, 2007. "More growth or fewer collapses ? a new look at long run growth in Sub-Saharan Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4384, The World Bank.
  7. Kraay, Aart & Raddatz, Claudio, 2005. "Poverty traps, aid, and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3631, The World Bank.
  8. Alice Nicole Sindzingre, 2007. "Poverty traps: a perspective from development economics," EconomiX Working Papers 2007-26, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
  9. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
  10. Dasgupta, Partha, 1997. "Nutritional status, the capacity for work, and poverty traps," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 5-37, March.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00648001. 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: (CCSD)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.