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Economic growth, inequality, and poverty : findings from a new data set

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  • Adams, Richard H. Jr.

Abstract

The author uses new data from 50 developing countries and 101 intervals to examine the impact of economic growth on poverty and inequality. He finds that growth represents an important means for reducing poverty in the developing world. When economic growth is measured by survey mean income (consumption), there is a strong, statistical link between growth and poverty reduction. When economic growth is measured by GDP per capita, the statistical relationship between growth and poverty reduction is still present, albeit not quite as strong. Economic growth reduces poverty because growth has little impact on income inequality. In the data set income inequality rises on average less than 1.0 percent a year. Since income distributions are relatively stable over time, economic growth tends to raise incomes for all members of society, including the poor. When growth is measured by survey mean income (consumption), the elasticity of poverty with respect to growth is -2.59. In other words, on average, a 10 percentage point increase in economic growth (measured by survey mean income) will produce a 25.9 percent decrease in the proportion of people living in poverty ($1 a person a day).

Suggested Citation

  • Adams, Richard H. Jr., 2003. "Economic growth, inequality, and poverty : findings from a new data set," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2972, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2972
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 1997. "What Can New Survey Data Tell Us about Recent Changes in Distribution and Poverty?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 357-382, May.
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    3. Ravallion, Martin, 1997. "Can high-inequality developing countries escape absolute poverty?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 51-57, September.
    4. T. Paul Schultz, 1998. "Inequality in the distribution of personal income in the world: How it is changing and why," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, pages 307-344.
    5. Angus Deaton, 2000. "Counting the world's poor: problems and possible solutions," Working Papers 212, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
    6. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
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    8. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Growth, Inequality and Poverty: Looking Beyond Averages," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1803-1815, November.
    9. Squire, Lyn, 1993. "Fighting Poverty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 377-382, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Giuliano, Paola & Ruiz-Arranz, Marta, 2009. "Remittances, financial development, and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 144-152.
    2. Leonardo Gasparini & Federico Gutiérrez & Leopoldo Tornarolli, 2007. "Growth And Income Poverty In Latin America And The Caribbean: Evidence From Household Surveys," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, pages 209-245.
    3. Alexander Cotte Poveda & Clara Inés Pardo Martínez, 2011. "Las tendencias de la pobreza y la desigualdad: una evidencia para los departamentos de Colombia," Ensayos Revista de Economia, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Facultad de Economia, vol. 0(2), pages 29-50, November.
    4. Hafiz A. Pasha & T. Palanivel, 2003. "Pro-poor Growth and Policies: The Asian Experience," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 42(4), pages 313-348.
    5. Lonnie K. Stevans & David N. Sessions, 2005. "The Relationship Between Poverty, Economic Growth, and Inequality Revisited," GE, Growth, Math methods 0502002, EconWPA.
    6. Alia El Mahdi, 2010. "Poverty and Informality: A Restraining or Constructive Relationship?," Working Papers 569, Economic Research Forum, revised 11 Jan 2010.
    7. Paci, Pierella & Sasin, Martin J. & Verbeek, Jos, 2004. "Economic growth, income distribution, and poverty in Poland during transition," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3467, The World Bank.
    8. Wannaphong Durongkaveroj and Rossarin Osathanunkul & Rossarin Osathanunkul, 2013. "Regional multipliers of social accounting matrix and the effective eradication of poverty," The Empirical Econometrics and Quantitative Economics Letters, Faculty of Economics, Chiang Mai University, vol. 2(4), pages 39-52, December.
    9. Perera, Liyanage Devangi H. & Lee, Grace H.Y., 2013. "Have economic growth and institutional quality contributed to poverty and inequality reduction in Asia?," MPRA Paper 52763, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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