IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The pro-poorness, growth and inequality nexus: Some findings from a simulation study


  • Thomas Groll

    (University of Oregon)

  • Peter J. Lambert

    (University of Oregon)


A widely accepted criterion for pro-poorness of an income growth pattern is that it should reduce a (chosen) measure of poverty by more than if all incomes were growing equiproportionately. Inequality reduction is not generally seen as either necessary or sufficient for pro-poorness. As shown in Lambert (2010), in order to conduct nuanced investigation of the pro-poorness, growth and inequality nexus, one needs at least a 3-parameter model of the income distribution. In this paper, we explore in detail the properties of inequality reduction and pro-poorness, using the Watts poverty index and Gini inequality index, when income growth takes place within each of the following models: the displaced lognormal, Singh-Maddala and Dagum distributions. We show by simulation, using empirically relevant parameter estimates, that distributional change preserving the form of each of these income distributions is, in the main, either pro-poor and inequality reducing, or pro-rich and inequality exacerbating. Instances of pro-rich and inequality reducing change do occur, but we find no evidence that distributional change could be both pro-poor and inequality exacerbating.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Groll & Peter J. Lambert, 2011. "The pro-poorness, growth and inequality nexus: Some findings from a simulation study," Working Papers 214, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  • Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2011-214

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stephen P. Jenkins & Philippe Van Kerm, 2006. "Trends in income inequality, pro-poor income growth, and income mobility," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(3), pages 531-548, July.
    2. Jenkins, Stephen P. & Van Kerm, Philippe, 2011. "Trends in individual income growth: measurement methods and British evidence," ISER Working Paper Series 2011-06, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    3. McDonald, James B, 1984. "Some Generalized Functions for the Size Distribution of Income," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 647-663, May.
    4. Kalwij, Adriaan & Verschoor, Arjan, 2005. "A Decomposition of Poverty Trends across Regions: The Role of Variation in the Income and Inequality Elasticities of Poverty," WIDER Working Paper Series 036, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. François Bourguignon, 2002. "The growth elasticity of poverty reduction : explaining heterogeneity across countries and time periods," DELTA Working Papers 2002-03, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
    6. Alexeev, Michael V & Gaddy, Clifford G, 1993. "Income Distribution in the U.S.S.R. in the 1980s," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(1), pages 23-36, March.
    7. Florent Bresson, 2010. "A general class of inequality elasticities of poverty," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 8(1), pages 71-100, March.
    8. Kleiber, Christian, 1996. "Dagum vs. Singh-Maddala income distributions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 265-268, December.
    9. Kalwij, Adriaan & Verschoor, Arjan, 2007. "Not by growth alone: The role of the distribution of income in regional diversity in poverty reduction," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 805-829, May.
    10. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 2003. "Measuring pro-poor growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 93-99, January.
    11. Michael Grimm, 2007. "Removing the anonymity axiom in assessing pro-poor growth," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 5(2), pages 179-197, August.
    12. Theo S Eicher & Cecilia Garcia Penalosa, "undated". "Inequality and Growth," Working Papers 0083, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
    13. McDonald, James B & Mantrala, Anand, 1995. "The Distribution of Personal Income: Revisited," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(2), pages 201-204, April-Jun.
    14. Anne Epaulard, 2003. "Macroeconomic Performance and Poverty Reduction," IMF Working Papers 03/72, International Monetary Fund.
    15. Wilfling, Bernd & Kramer, Walter, 1993. "The Lorenz-ordering of Singh-Maddala income distributions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 53-57.
    16. Florent Bresson, 2009. "On The Estimation Of Growth And Inequality Elasticities Of Poverty With Grouped Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(2), pages 266-302, June.
    17. B. Essama-Nssah & Peter J. Lambert, 2009. "Measuring Pro-Poorness: A Unifying Approach With New Results," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(3), pages 752-778, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Francisco Azpitarte, 2014. "Was Pro-Poor Economic Growth in Australia for the Income-Poor? And for the Multidimensionally-Poor?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 117(3), pages 871-905, July.
    2. Higgins, Sean & Lustig, Nora, 2016. "Can a poverty-reducing and progressive tax and transfer system hurt the poor?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 63-75.
    3. Sean Higgins & Nora Lustig, 2015. "Can Poverty-Reducing and Progressive Tax and Transfer System Hurt the Poor?," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1333, Tulane University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    poverty; growth; pro-poorness; income distribution.;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:inq:inqwps:ecineq2011-214. 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: (Maria Ana Lugo). General contact details of provider: .

    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 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.

    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.