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Trends in Poverty and Inequality in Seven African Countries

  • Frikkie Booysen
  • Ronelle Burger
  • Gideon Du Rand
  • Michael von Maltitz
  • Servaas Van der Berg

This paper aims to analyse trends in poverty and inequality in seven African countries using an asset index constructed from comparable, nationally representative surveys using multiple correspondence analysis. Improvements in the asset index are largely driven by progress in the accumulation of private assets, while access to public services has deteriorated. Continued efforts at the expansion of access to public services such as waterborne sanitation and piped water, particularly in rural areas, are thus required. Overall poverty has declined in five of the seven countries. The trends in urban and rural poverty for the most part mirror these trends in overall poverty. Five of the seven countries experienced an improvement in overall inequality. Only in Zambia has overall inequality increased. Experiences in regards to trends in urban and rural inequality are mixed. These results, however, should be interpreted with caution, given the various conceptual and methodological limitations of the asset index approach to poverty analysis.

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Paper provided by PEP-PMMA in its series Working Papers PMMA with number 2007-06.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:pmmacr:2007-06
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  1. Sahn, David E. & Stifel, David C., 2004. "Urban-Rural Inequality in Living Standards in Africa," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  2. Francis Teal, 2004. "Education, incomes, poverty and inequality in Ghana in the 1990s," Development and Comp Systems 0409006, EconWPA.
  3. Philippe Van Kerm, 1998. "Simple and multiple correspondence analysis in Stata," Stata Technical Bulletin, StataCorp LP, vol. 7(42).
  4. Shaohua Chen & Martin Ravallion, 2004. "How Have the World's Poorest Fared since the Early 1980s?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 19(2), pages 141-169.
  5. Duclos, Jean-Yves & Sahn, David & Younger, Stephen D., 2001. "Robust Multidimensional Poverty Comparisons," Cahiers de recherche 0115, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
  6. Shaohua Chen & Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1993. "Is poverty increasing in the developing world?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1146, The World Bank.
  7. 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.
  8. Michael Greenacre, 2008. "Correspondence analysis of raw data," Economics Working Papers 1112, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2009.
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