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Globalization, poverty, and inequality since 1980

  • Dollar, David

One of the most contentious issues of globalization is the effect of global economic integration on inequality and poverty. This paper documents five trends in the modern era of globalization, starting around 1980. Trend #1: Poor country growth rates have accelerated and are higher than rich country growth rates - for the first time in modern history. The developing world economy grew at more than 3.5 percent per capita in the 1990s. Trend #2: The number of poor people in the world has declined significantly - by 375 million people since 1981 -- the first such decline in history. The share of the developing world population living on less than $1 per day was cut in half since 1981. Trend #3: Global inequality (among citizens of the world) has declined - modestly -- reversing a 200-year-old trend toward higher inequality. Trend #4: There is no general trend toward higher inequality within countries. Trend #5: Wage inequality is rising worldwide (which may seem to contradict trend #4, but it does not because wages are a small part of household income in developing countries, which make up the bulk of the world in terms of countries and population). Furthermore, the trends toward faster growth and poverty reduction are strongest in the developing countries in which there has been the most rapid integration with the global economy, supporting the view that integration has been a positive force for improving peoples lives in the developing world.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3333.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2004
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3333
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  1. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Friedman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1997. "How Much Do Immigration and Trade Affect Labor Market Outcomes?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 1-90.
  2. Remco H. Oostendorp, 2009. "Globalization and the Gender Wage Gap," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 23(1), pages 141-161, January.
  3. Branko milanovic, 2003. "True world income distribution, 1988 and 1993: First calculation based on household surveys alo," HEW 0305002, EconWPA.
  4. Milanovic, Branko, 1999. "True world income distribution, 1988 and 1993 - first calculations, based on household surveys alone," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2244, The World Bank.
  5. Peter H. Lindert & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "Does Globalization Make the World More Unequal?," NBER Working Papers 8228, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2003. "Institutions, trade, and growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 133-162, January.
  7. David Dollar & Aart Kraay, 2004. "Trade, Growth, and Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(493), pages F22-F49, 02.
  8. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2001. "Growth is good for the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2587, The World Bank.
  9. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1, December.
  10. Bee Yan Aw & Sukkyun Chung & Mark J. Roberts, 1998. "Productivity and the Decision to Export: Micro Evidence from Taiwan and South Korea," NBER Working Papers 6558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Edmonds, Eric V., 2008. "Child Labor," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
  12. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2232, David K. Levine.
  13. Ritva Reinikka & Paul Collier, 2001. "Uganda's Recovery : The Role of Farms, Firms, and Government," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13850.
  14. N. F. R. Crafts, 2000. "Globalization and Growth in the Twentieth Century," IMF Working Papers 00/44, International Monetary Fund.
  15. Dwayne Benjamin & Loren Brandt, 2002. "Agriculture and Income Distribution in Rural Vietnam under Economic Reforms: A Tale of Two Regions," Working Papers benjamin-02-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
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