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More relatively-poor people in a less absolutely-poor world

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  • Chen, Shaohua
  • Ravallion, Martin

Abstract

Relative deprivation, shame and social exclusion can matter to the welfare of people everywhere. The authors argue that such social effects on welfare call for a reconsideration of how we assess global poverty, but they do not support standard measures of relative poverty. The paper argues instead for using a weakly-relative measure as the upper-bound complement to the lower-bound provided by a standard absolute measure. New estimates of global poverty are presented, drawing on 850 household surveys spanning 125 countries over 1981-2008. The absolute line is $1.25 a day at 2005 prices, while the relative line rises with the mean, at a gradient of 1:2 above $1.25 a day. The authors show that these parameter choices are consistent with cross-country data on national poverty lines. The results indicate that the incidence of both absolute and weakly-relative poverty in the developing world has been falling since the 1990s, but more slowly for the relative measure. While the number of absolutely poor has fallen, the number of relatively poor has changed little since the 1990s, and is higher in 2008 than 1981.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen, Shaohua & Ravallion, Martin, 2012. "More relatively-poor people in a less absolutely-poor world," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6114, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6114
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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. Angus Deaton & Salman Zaidi, 2002. "Guidelines for Constructing Consumption Aggregates for Welfare Analysis," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14101.
    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. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2010. "Who cares about relative deprivation?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 171-185, February.
    5. Louis De Mesnard, 2007. "The paradox of endogenous poverty line in the poverty indices," Post-Print halshs-00266747, HAL.
    6. 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. Annamaria Milazzo & Dominique Walle, 2017. "Women Left Behind? Poverty and Headship in Africa," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(3), pages 1119-1145, June.
    2. Stephan Klasen & Tatyana Krivobokova & Friederike Greb & Rahul Lahoti & Syamsul Hidayat Pasaribu & Manuel Wiesenfarth, 2016. "International income poverty measurement: which way now?," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 14(2), pages 199-225, June.
    3. Zhang, Chunni & Xu, Qi & Zhou, Xiang & Zhang, Xiaobo & Xie, Yu, 2014. "Are poverty rates underestimated in China? New evidence from four recent surveys," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 410-425.
    4. Sırma Şeker & Stephen Jenkins, 2015. "Poverty trends in Turkey," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 13(3), pages 401-424, September.
    5. Martin Ravallion, 2016. "Toward better global poverty measures," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 14(2), pages 227-248, June.
    6. John Gibson, 2016. "Poverty Measurement: We Know Less than Policy Makers Realize," Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(3), pages 430-442, September.
    7. Martin Ravallion & Shaohua Chen, 2013. "A Proposal for Truly Global Poverty Measures," Global Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 4(3), pages 258-265, September.
    8. World Bank, 2014. "Prosperity for All / Ending Extreme Poverty : A Note for the World Bank Group Spring Meetings 2014," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 17701, April.
    9. Stephan Klasen & Derek Blades, 2013. "Issues and Challenges in Measuring National Income, Wealth, Poverty, and Inequality in Sub-Saharan African Countries: An Introduction," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 59, pages 1-8, October.
    10. Crombrugghe, D.P.I. de & Szirmai, A. & Bluhm, R., 2014. "Poor trends: The pace of poverty reduction after the Millennium Development Agenda," MERIT Working Papers 006, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    11. Almås, Ingvild & Johnsen, Åshild Auglænd & Kotsadam, Andreaa, 2014. "Poverty in China Seen from Outer Space," Memorandum 11/2014, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    12. Dhongde, Shatakshee & Minoiu, Camelia, 2013. "Global Poverty Estimates: A Sensitivity Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 1-13.
    13. Josef Yap, 2015. "Addressing Inequality in Southeast Asia through Regional Economic Integration," Working Papers id:6432, eSocialSciences.
    14. Mazumder, Mohummed Shofi Ullah & Lu, Wencong, 2015. "What Impact Does Microfinance Have on Rural Livelihood? A Comparison of Governmental and Non-Governmental Microfinance Programs in Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 336-354.
    15. Islam, Abu Hayat, 2015. "Can Integrated Rice-Fish System Increase Welfare of the Marginalized Extreme Poor in Bangladesh? A DID Matching Approach," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 211792, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    16. repec:eee:pubeco:v:152:y:2017:i:c:p:79-92 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. repec:bla:revinw:v:63:y:2017:i:4:p:633-660 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Sudarno SUMARTO & Sarah MOSELLE, 2015. "Addressing Poverty and Vulnerability in ASEAN: An Analysis of Measures and Implications Going Forward," Working Papers DP-2015-63, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).
    19. Tony Addison & Yukka Pirttilä & Finn Tarp & Hai-Anh H. Dang & Peter F. Lanjouw, 2017. "Welfare Dynamics Measurement: Two Definitions of a Vulnerability Line and Their Empirical Application," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 63(4), pages 633-660, December.
    20. Decerf, B., 2015. "A new index combining the absolute and relative aspects of income poverty: Theory and application," CORE Discussion Papers 2015050, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    21. Wenjun Jiao & Anthony M. Fuller & Siyuan Xu & Qingwen Min & Minfang Wu, 2016. "Socio-Ecological Adaptation of Agricultural Heritage Systems in Modern China: Three Cases in Qingtian County, Zhejiang Province," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(12), pages 1-16, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rural Poverty Reduction; Regional Economic Development; Achieving Shared Growth; Services&Transfers to Poor;

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