Measuring Rural Poverty in China: a Case Study Approach
This paper measures rural poverty in Hubei Province and Inner Mongolia in China. The poverty lines we derived by Ravallion's method differ from the official Chinese poverty lines. The official pan-country poverty line underestimates rural poverty in Hubei Province and overestimates rural poverty in Inner Mongolia. Poverty determinants are estimated by Logit as well as Probit models. The study notes that factors such as living in a mountainous area, lack of better irrigation conditions, a large family size, few fixed assets, few land owned and sole dependence on agriculture as a livelihood source would make a rural household more vulnerable to poverty. On the other hand, a rural household whose members are either better educated or trained laborers would statistically be less poor. The growth-redistribution decomposition reveals that for all the three FGT indexes in Hubei province, income growth contributed much to the alleviation of poverty, while the redistribution or inequality effects counteracted the growth effects and worsened poverty. The poverty incidence decomposition results reveal that about one third of the growth effects had been counteracted by the redistribution effects. This implies that future anti-poverty programs should pay more attention to solving the inequality problem in China. Poverty dominance analysis also helps us better understand the poverty situation. It reveals that rural poverty in Inner Mongolia is more severe than that in Hubei, and that poverty incidence in Hubei has lessened from 1997 to 2003, which are the same findings as those drawn from deriving poverty lines.
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