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Secondary Towns and Poverty Reduction: Refocusing the Urbanization Agenda

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  • Christiaensen, Luc

    (World Bank)

  • Kanbur, Ravi

    (Cornell University)

Abstract

This review is framed around the exploration of a central hypothesis: A shift in public investment towards secondary towns from big cities will improve poverty reduction performance. Of course the hypothesis raises many questions. What exactly is the dichotomy of secondary towns versus big cities? What is the evidence for the contribution of secondary towns versus cities to poverty reduction? What are the economic mechanisms for such a differential contribution and how does policy interact with them? We find preliminary evidence and arguments in support of our hypothesis, but the impacts of policy on poverty are quite complex even in simple settings, and the question of secondary towns and poverty reduction is an open area for research and policy analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Christiaensen, Luc & Kanbur, Ravi, 2017. "Secondary Towns and Poverty Reduction: Refocusing the Urbanization Agenda," IZA Discussion Papers 10637, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10637
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    Cited by:

    1. Lara Cockx, 2022. "Moving toward a Better Future? Migration and Children’s Health and Education," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70(3), pages 1229-1293.
    2. Mulubrhan Amare & Channing Arndt & Kibrom A Abay & Todd Benson, 2020. "Urbanization and Child Nutritional Outcomes," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 34(1), pages 63-74.
    3. Bluhm, Richard & Krause, Melanie, 2022. "Top lights: Bright cities and their contribution to economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 157(C).
    4. Luc Christiaensen & Joachim De Weerdt & Ravi Kanbur, 2019. "Decomposing the contribution of migration to poverty reduction: methodology and application to Tanzania," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(12), pages 978-982, July.
    5. Martin Rama, 2019. "Challenges in Measuring Poverty and Understanding its Dynamics: A South Asian Perspective," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 65(S1), pages 2-32, November.
    6. Cattaneo, Andrea & Adukia, Anjali & Brown, David L. & Christiaensen, Luc & Evans, David K. & Haakenstad, Annie & McMenomy, Theresa & Partridge, Mark & Vaz, Sara & Weiss, Daniel J., 2022. "Economic and social development along the urban–rural continuum: New opportunities to inform policy," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 157(C).
    7. Ravi Kanbur & Luc Christiaensen & Joachim De Weerdt, 2019. "Where to create jobs to reduce poverty: cities or towns?," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 17(4), pages 543-564, December.
    8. Sen, Binayak & Dorosh, Paul & Ahmed, Mansur, 2021. "Moving out of agriculture in Bangladesh: The role of farm, non-farm and mixed households," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    9. Ingelaere, Bert & Christiaensen, Luc & De Weerdt, Joachim & Kanbur, Ravi, 2018. "Why secondary towns can be important for poverty reduction – A migrant perspective," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 273-282.
    10. World Bank, 2020. "Ethiopia Poverty Assessment," World Bank Publications - Reports 33544, The World Bank Group.
    11. Andrés Rodríguez‐Pose & Jamie Griffiths, 2021. "Developing intermediate cities," Regional Science Policy & Practice, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(3), pages 441-456, June.
    12. Desbureaux, Sébastien & Rodella, Aude-Sophie, 2019. "Drought in the city: The economic impact of water scarcity in Latin American metropolitan areas," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 13-27.
    13. Juan Ignacio Zoloa, 2020. "Noise pollution and housing markets: A spatial hedonic analysis for La Plata City," Ensayos de Política Económica, Departamento de Investigación Francisco Valsecchi, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina., vol. 3(2), pages 129-152, Octubre.
    14. Cockx, Lara & Colen, Liesbeth & De Weerdt, Joachim, 2018. "From corn to popcorn? Urbanization and dietary change: Evidence from rural-urban migrants in Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 140-159.
    15. Ameye, H., 2018. "Secondary Towns The Nutritional Sweet Spot. A study of East Africa," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277211, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    16. Mohammad Rafiqul Islam & Masud Alam & Munshi Naser .Ibne Afzal & Sakila Alam, 2021. "Nighttime Light Intensity and Child Health Outcomes in Bangladesh," Papers 2108.00926, arXiv.org, revised Sep 2022.
    17. Omoniyi Alimi & Geua Boe-Gibson & John Gibson, 2022. "Noisy Night Lights Data: Effects on Research Findings for Developing Countries," Working Papers in Economics 22/12, University of Waikato.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    secondary towns; poverty reduction; mega cities; urbanization; rural-urban migration; Zipf's Law;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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