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Transient poverty in rural China

  • Jalan, Jyotsna
  • Ravallion, Martin

The authors study transient poverty in a six-year panel dataset for a sample of 5,000 households in post-reform rural China. Half of the mean squared poverty gap is transient, in that it is directly attributable to fluctuations in consumption over time. There is enough transient poverty to treble the cost of eliminating chronic poverty when targeting solely according to current consumption - and to title the balance in favor of untargeted transfers. Transient poverty is low among the chronically poorest, and tends to be high among those near the poverty line. Using censored quantile regression techniques, the authors find that systemic factors determine transient poverty, although they are generally congruent with the determinants of chronic poverty. There is little to suggest that the two types of poverty are created by fundamentally different processes. It appears that the same things that would help reduce chronic poverty - higher and more secure farm yield and higher levels of physical and human capital - would also help reduce transient poverty.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1616.

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Date of creation: 30 Jun 1996
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1616
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  1. Morduch, Jonathan, 1994. "Poverty and Vulnerability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 221-25, May.
  2. Ravallion, Martin, 1988. "Expected Poverty under Risk-Induced Welfare Variability," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(393), pages 1171-82, December.
  3. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
  4. Foster, James E & Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1991. "Subgroup Consistent Poverty Indices," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 687-709, May.
  5. Lipton, Michael & Ravallion, Martin, 1993. "Poverty and policy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1130, The World Bank.
  6. Lanjouw, Peter & Ravallion, Martin & DEC, 1994. "Poverty and household size," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1332, The World Bank.
  7. Chaudhuri, Shubham & Ravallion, Martin, 1994. "How well do static indicators identify the chronically poor?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 367-394, March.
  8. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-31, March.
  9. Pagan, Adrian & Vella, Frank, 1989. "Diagnostic Tests for Models Based on Individual Data: A Survey," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 4(S), pages S29-59, Supplemen.
  10. Atkinson, A B, 1987. "On the Measurement of Poverty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 749-64, July.
  11. Powell, James L., 1984. "Least absolute deviations estimation for the censored regression model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 303-325, July.
  12. Slesnick, Daniel T, 1993. "Gaining Ground: Poverty in the Postwar United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-38, February.
  13. William Gould, 1993. "Quantile regression with bootstrapped standard errors," Stata Technical Bulletin, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(9).
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