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Urbanization and poverty reduction: the role of secondary towns in Tanzania

Listed author(s):
  • Christiaensen, Luc
  • De Weerdt, Joachim
  • Kanbur, Ravi

In 2007, the world reached an important “tipping point” — half its population became urban. But not only is the world urbanizing, it has been doing so much more rapidly. While it took Industrial Europe 110 years (1800-1910) to increase its rate of urbanization from 15 to 40 percent, Asia and Africa did so in only 50 years (1960-2010), or twice as fast. And the urban population in the developing world is also concentrating, living increasingly in few large cities. This also holds in Africa, which already has a clear bimodal distribution of its urban population (Dorosh and Thurlow, 2013). Nonetheless, barring some exceptions, the academic literature and policy mind-sets have been squarely focused on the aggregate rate of urbanization. They seldom go beyond the dichotomous rural-urban distinction, thereby ignoring the distribution of the urban population across cities of different sizes. Results from our research suggest, however, that the composition of urbanization might be as important as its aggregate rate.

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Paper provided by Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy (IOB) in its series IOB Analyses & Policy Briefs with number 18.

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Length: 8 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2016
Handle: RePEc:iob:apbrfs:2016001
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  1. Joachim De Weerdt, 2010. "Moving out of Poverty in Tanzania: Evidence from Kagera," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(2), pages 331-349.
  2. Ravallion, Martin, 2002. "On the urbanization of poverty," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 435-442, August.
  3. Martin Ravallion & Shaohua Chen & Prem Sangraula, 2007. "New Evidence on the Urbanization of Global Poverty," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 33(4), pages 667-701.
  4. Marcel Fafchamps & Forhad Shilpi, 2013. "Determinants of the Choice of Migration Destination," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 75(3), pages 388-409, 06.
  5. Anand, Sudhir & Kanbur, S M R, 1985. "Poverty under the Kuznets Process," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(380a), pages 42-50, Supplemen.
  6. Fields, Gary S., 2005. "A welfare economic analysis of labor market policies in the Harris-Todaro model," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 127-146, February.
  7. Zhang, Junfu & Zhao, Zhong, 2013. "Measuring the Income-Distance Tradeoff for Rural-Urban Migrants in China," IZA Discussion Papers 7160, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Christiaensen, Luc & Todo, Yasuyuki, 2014. "Poverty Reduction During the Rural–Urban Transformation – The Role of the Missing Middle," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 43-58.
  9. Kathleen Beegle & Joachim De Weerdt & Stefan Dercon, 2011. "Migration and Economic Mobility in Tanzania: Evidence from a Tracking Survey," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 1010-1033, August.
  10. repec:oup:qjecon:v:129:y:2014:i:2:p:939-993. is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Hirvonen, Kalle & Lilleør, Helene Bie, 2015. "Going Back Home: Internal Return Migration in Rural Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 186-202.
  12. Poncet, Sandra, 2006. "Provincial migration dynamics in China: Borders, costs and economic motivations," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 385-398, May.
  13. Douglas Gollin & David Lagakos & Michael E. Waugh, 2014. "The Agricultural Productivity Gap," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(2), pages 939-993.
  14. Overman, Henry G. & Venables, Anthnony J., 2010. "Evolving City Systems," WIDER Working Paper Series 026, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  15. Henderson, Vernon, 2003. "The Urbanization Process and Economic Growth: The So-What Question," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 47-71, March.
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