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The debate on globalization, poverty, and inequality : why measurement matters

  • Ravallion, Martin

In the last year or so, markedly different claims have been heard within the development community about just how much progress is being made against poverty and inequality in the current period of"globalization."Ravallion provides a nontechnical overview of the conceptual and methodological issues underlying these conflicting claims. He argues that the dramatically differing positions taken in this debate often stem from differences in the concepts and definitions used and differences in data sources and measurement assumptions. These differences are often hidden from view in the debate, but they need to be considered carefully if one is to properly interpret the evidence. The author argues that the best available evidence suggests that if the rate of progress against absolute poverty in the developing world in the 1990s is maintained, then the Millennium Development Goal of halving the 1990 aggregate poverty rate by 2015 will be achieved on time in the aggregate, though not in all regions. He concludes with some observations on the implications for the more policy-oriented debates on globalization and pro-poor growth.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3038.

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Date of creation: 31 May 2003
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3038
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  1. Bob Baulch & John Hoddinott, 2000. "Economic mobility and poverty dynamics in developing countries," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 1-24.
  2. Schultz, T.P., 1998. "Inequality in the Distribution of Personal Income in the World: How It Is Changing and Why," Papers 784, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  3. Frank Cowell, 1998. "Measurement of inequality," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2084, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2002. "The world distribution of income (estimated from individual country distributions)," Economics Working Papers 615, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 2002.
  5. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2002. " Growth Is Good for the Poor," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 195-225, September.
  6. Bourguignon, F. & Morrisson, C., 1990. "Income distribution, development and foreign trade : A cross-sectional analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1113-1132, September.
  7. Mistiaen, Johan A. & Ravallion, Martin, 2003. "Survey compliance and the distribution of income," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2956, The World Bank.
  8. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 2002. "Is India's economic growth leaving the poor behind?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2846, The World Bank.
  9. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav, 2002. "Why has economic growth been more pro-poor in some states of India than others?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 381-400, August.
  10. Stanley Fischer, 2003. "Globalization and Its Challenges," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 1-30, May.
  11. Lant Pritchett, 1997. "Divergence, Big Time," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 3-17, Summer.
  12. Barro, Robert J, 2000. " Inequality and Growth in a Panel of Countries," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 5-32, March.
  13. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav & van de Walle, Dominique, 1991. "Quantifying Absolute Poverty in the Developing World," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(4), pages 345-61, December.
  14. Edwards, Sebastian, 1997. "Trade Policy, Growth, and Income Distribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 205-10, May.
  15. Li, Hongyi & Squire, Lyn & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 26-43, January.
  16. 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 357-82, May.
  17. Jyotsna Jalan & Martin Ravallion, 1998. "Geographic Poverty Traps?," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 86, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  18. T. Paul Schultz, 1998. "Inequality in the Distribution of Personal Income in the World: How it is Changing and Why," Working Papers 784, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  19. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2002. "Why Social Preferences Matter -- The Impact of Non-Selfish Motives on Competition, Cooperation and Incentives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C1-C33, March.
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