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China is poorer than we thought, but no less successful in the fight against poverty

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  • Chen, Shaohua
  • Ravallion, Martin

Abstract

In 2005, China participated for the first time in the International Comparison Program (ICP), which collects primary data across countries on the prices for an internationally comparable list of goods and services. This paper examines the implications of the new Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) rate (derived by the ICP) for China's poverty rate (by international standards) and how it has changed over time. We provide estimates with and without adjustment for a likely sampling bias in the ICP data. Using an international poverty line of USD 1.25 at 2005 PPP, we find a substantially higher poverty rate for China than past estimates, with about 15% of the population living in consumption poverty, implying about 130 million more poor by this standard. The income poverty rate in 2005 is 10%, implying about 65 million more people living in poverty. However, the new ICP data suggest an even larger reduction in the number of poor since 1981.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen, Shaohua & Ravallion, Martin, 2008. "China is poorer than we thought, but no less successful in the fight against poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4621, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4621
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martin Ravallion & Shaohua Chen & Prem Sangraula, 2007. "New Evidence on the Urbanization of Global Poverty," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 33(4), pages 667-701.
    2. Chen, Shaohua & Ravallion, Martin, 1996. "Data in transition: Assessing rural living standards in Southern China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 23-56.
    3. Ruoen, Ren & Chen Kai, 1995. "China's GDP in U.S. dollars based on purchasing power parity," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1415, The World Bank.
    4. Ravallion, M., 1998. "Poverty Lines in Theory and Practice," Papers 133, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
    5. Wade, Robert Hunter, 2004. "Is Globalization Reducing Poverty and Inequality?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 567-589, April.
    6. Shaohua Chen & Martin Ravallion, 2004. "How Have the World's Poorest Fared since the Early 1980s?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 19(2), pages 141-169.
    7. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 2007. "China's (uneven) progress against poverty," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 1-42, January.
    8. Chen, Shaohua & Ravallion, Martin, 2007. "Absolute poverty measures for the developing world, 1981-2004," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4211, The World Bank.
    9. 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 345-361, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Edward & Andy Sumner, 2013. "The Future of Global Poverty in a Multi-Speed World: New Estimates of Scale, Location and Cost," Working Papers 111, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    2. repec:dau:papers:123456789/5548 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Martin Ravallion & Shaohua Chen & Prem Sangraula, 2009. "Dollar a Day Revisited," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 23(2), pages 163-184, June.
    4. Raghav Gaiha & Katsushi S. Imai & Ganesh Thapa, 2011. "Role of Agriculture in Achieving MDG 1 in Asia and the Pacific Region," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 1104, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    5. Klemperer, Paul, 2009. "What is the Top Priority on Climate Change?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7141, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Andersson, Fredrik N.G. & Edgerton, David L. & Opper, Sonja, 2013. "A Matter of Time: Revisiting Growth Convergence in China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 239-251.
    7. Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Shaohua Chen & Andrew Dabalen & Yuri Dikhanov & Nada Hamadeh & Dean Jolliffe & Ambar Narayan & Espen Beer Prydz & Ana Revenga & Prem Sangraula & Umar Serajuddin & Nobuo Yosh, 2016. "A global count of the extreme poor in 2012: data issues, methodology and initial results," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 14(2), pages 141-172, June.
    8. Almås, Ingvild & Johnsen, Åshild Auglænd, 2012. "The cost of living in China: Implications for inequality and poverty," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 21/2012, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    9. Ravallion, Martin, 2009. "Are There Lessons for Africa from China's Success Against Poverty?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 303-313, February.
    10. Kilic, Talip & Palacios-López, Amparo & Goldstein, Markus, 2015. "Caught in a Productivity Trap: A Distributional Perspective on Gender Differences in Malawian Agriculture," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 416-463.
    11. J. You, 2011. "Evaluating poverty duration and transition: a spell-approach to rural China," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(14), pages 1377-1382.
    12. Ralph W. Huenemann, 2014. "The World Bank and China: Future Prospects," Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 251-256, January.
    13. Mohammad Delwar Hussain & Rosni Bakar & Abul Bashar Bhuiyan, 2014. "Entrepreneurship Development and Poverty Alleviation: An Empirical Review," Journal of Asian Scientific Research, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 4(10), pages 558-573, October.
    14. Martin Ravallion, 2011. "A Comparative Perspective on Poverty Reduction in Brazil, China, and India," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 26(1), pages 71-104, February.
    15. Alan Heston, 2010. "What Can Be Learned About the Economies of China and India from Purchasing Power Comparisons?," Working Papers id:2777, eSocialSciences.
    16. Katsushi S. Imai & Jing You, 2011. "Poverty Dynamics of Households in Rural China: Identifying Multiple Pathways for Poverty Transition," Discussion Paper Series DP2011-35, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
    17. Shaohua Chen & Martin Ravallion, 2010. "The Developing World is Poorer than We Thought, But No Less Successful in the Fight Against Poverty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1577-1625.
    18. A. P. Thirlwall, 2013. "Economic Growth in an Open Developing Economy," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 15208.
    19. A. P. Thirlwall, 2012. "Poor Economics: A Radical Rethink of the Way to Fight Global Poverty -- A Review Article," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(10), pages 1554-1557, October.
    20. Prashant Loyalka & Lan Liu & Gong Chen & Xiaoying Zheng, 2014. "The Cost of Disability in China," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(1), pages 97-118, February.
    21. Angus Deaton & Alan Heston, 2010. "Understanding PPPs and PPP-Based National Accounts," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 1-35, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rural Poverty Reduction; Population Policies; Achieving Shared Growth; ICT Applications;

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