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Mapping Poverty in Rural China: How Much Does the Environment Matter?

Author

Listed:
  • Susan Olivia

    (University of California, Davis)

  • John Gibson

    () (University of Waikato)

  • Scott Rozelle

    (Stanford University)

  • Jikun Huang

    (Chinese Academy of Sciences)

  • Xiangzheng Deng

    (Chinese Academy of Sciences)

Abstract

In this paper, we apply a recently developed small-area estimation technique to derive geographically detailed estimates of consumption-based poverty and inequality in rural Shaanxi, China. We also investigate whether using environmental variables derived mainly from satellite remote sensing improves upon traditional approaches that only use household survey and census data. According to our results, ignoring environmental variables in statistical analyses that predict small-area poverty rates leads to targeting errors. In other words, using environmental variables both helps more accurately identify poor areas (so they should be able to receive more transfers of poor area funds) and identify non-poor areas (which would allow policy makers to reduce poverty funds in these better off areas and redirect them to poor areas). Using area-based targeting may be an efficient way to reach the poor since many counties and townships in rural Shaanxi have low levels of inequality, even though, on average, there is more within-group than between-group inequality. Using information on locations that are, in fact, receiving poverty assistance, our analysis also produces evidence that official poverty policy in Shaanxi targets particular areas which in reality are no poorer than other areas that do not get targeted.

Suggested Citation

  • Susan Olivia & John Gibson & Scott Rozelle & Jikun Huang & Xiangzheng Deng, 2008. "Mapping Poverty in Rural China: How Much Does the Environment Matter?," Working Papers in Economics 08/14, University of Waikato.
  • Handle: RePEc:wai:econwp:08/14
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    File URL: ftp://wms-webprod1.mngt.waikato.ac.nz/RePEc/wai/econwp/0814.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Beegle, Kathleen & De Weerdt, Joachim & Friedman, Jed & Gibson, John, 2012. "Methods of household consumption measurement through surveys: Experimental results from Tanzania," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 3-18.
    2. John Gibson & Bonggeun Kim, 2010. "Non-Classical Measurement Error in Long-Term Retrospective Recall Surveys," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 72(5), pages 687-695, October.
    3. Bound, John & Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "The Extent of Measurement Error in Longitudinal Earnings Data: Do Two Wrongs Make a Right?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 1-24, January.
    4. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1998. "Economies of Scale, Household Size, and the Demand for Food," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, pages 897-930.
    5. Beegle, Kathleen & De Weerdt, Joachim & Friedman, Jed & Gibson, John, 2012. "Methods of household consumption measurement through surveys: Experimental results from Tanzania," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 3-18.
    6. Pischke, Jorn-Steffen, 1995. "Measurement Error and Earnings Dynamics: Some Estimates from the PSID Validation Study," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(3), pages 305-314, July.
    7. Shahidur R. Khandker, 2005. "Microfinance and Poverty: Evidence Using Panel Data from Bangladesh," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 19(2), pages 263-286.
    8. Richard W. Blundell & James L. Powell, 2004. "Endogeneity in Semiparametric Binary Response Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, pages 655-679.
    9. Gibson, John, 2002. " Why Does the Engel Method Work? Food Demand, Economies of Size and Household Survey Methods," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(4), pages 341-359, September.
    10. Alderman, Harold & Hoogeveen, Hans & Rossi, Mariacristina, 2006. "Reducing child malnutrition in Tanzania: Combined effects of income growth and program interventions," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 1-23.
    11. Andrew Chesher & Christian Schluter, 2002. "Welfare Measurement and Measurement Error," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(2), pages 357-378.
    12. John Gibson & Bonggeun Kim, 2007. "Measurement Error in Recall Surveys and the Relationship between Household Size and Food Demand," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(2), pages 473-489.
    13. Naeem Ahmed & Matthew Brzozowski & Thomas Crossley, 2006. "Measurement errors in recall food consumption data," IFS Working Papers W06/21, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Liu, Chengfang & Zhang, Linxiu & Luo, Renfu & Wang, Xiaobing & Rozelle, Scott & Sharbono, Brian & Adams, Jennifer & Shi, Yaojiang & Yue, Ai & Li, Hongbin & Glauben, Thomas, 2011. "Early commitment on financial aid and college decision making of poor students: Evidence from a randomized evaluation in rural China," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 627-640, August.
    2. Taupo, Tauisi & Cuffe, Harold & Noy, Ilan, 2016. "Household vulnerability on the frontline of climate change: The Pacific atoll nation of Tuvalu," Working Paper Series 5319, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
    3. You, Jing & Kontoleon, Andreas & Wang, Sangui, 2015. "Identifying a Sustainable Pathway to Household Multi-dimensional Poverty Reduction in Rural China," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 211865, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    4. Renfu Luo & Yaojiang Shi & Linxiu Zhang & Chengfang Liu & Scott Rozelle & Brian Sharbono & Ai Yue & Qiran Zhao & Reynaldo Martorell, 2012. "Nutrition and Educational Performance in Rural China's Elementary Schools: Results of a Randomized Control Trial in Shaanxi Province," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(4), pages 735-772.
    5. repec:eee:touman:v:31:y:2010:i:2:p:167-178 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Barbier, Edward B., 2012. "Natural capital, ecological scarcity and rural poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6232, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    China; environment; poverty; small area estimation;

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East
    • P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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