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Poverty and the spatial distribution of rural population

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  • Barbier, Edward B.
  • Hochard, Jacob P.

Abstract

According to global spatial data sets in 2000 more than one-third of the rural population in developing countries was located on less favored agricultural land and areas. Less favored agricultural lands are susceptible to low productivity and degradation, because their agricultural potential is constrained biophysically by terrain, poor soil quality, or limited rainfall. Less favored agricultural areas include less favored agricultural lands plus favorable agricultural land that is remote, that is, land in rural areas with high agricultural potential but with limited access. The paper presents tests of whether these spatial distributions of rural population influence poverty directly or indirectly via income growth in 83 developing countries from 2000 to 2012. The analysis finds no evidence of a direct impact on poverty, but there is a significant indirect impact via the elasticity of poverty reduction with respect to growth. Reducing poverty requires targeting rural populations in less favored lands and remote areas, in addition to encouraging out-migration in some areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Barbier, Edward B. & Hochard, Jacob P., 2014. "Poverty and the spatial distribution of rural population," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7101, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:7101
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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.
    2. Ravallion, Martin, 1997. "Can high-inequality developing countries escape absolute poverty?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 51-57, September.
    3. Adams, Richard Jr. & Page, John, 2005. "Do international migration and remittances reduce poverty in developing countries?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1645-1669, October.
    4. Kanbur, Ravi & Venables, Anthony J. (ed.), 2005. "Spatial Inequality and Development," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199278633.
    5. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Growth, Inequality and Poverty: Looking Beyond Averages," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1803-1815, November.
    6. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2007. "The Economic Lives of the Poor," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 141-168, Winter.
    7. Fan, Shenggen & Chan-Kang, Connie, 2004. "Returns to investment in less-favored areas in developing countries: a synthesis of evidence and implications for Africa," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 431-444, August.
    8. Kanbur, Ravi & Venables, Anthony J., 2005. "SPATIAL INEQUALITY AND DEVELOPMENT Overview of UNU-WIDER Project," Working Papers 127127, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    9. Kraay, Aart, 2006. "When is growth pro-poor? Evidence from a panel of countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 198-227, June.
    10. Barbier, Edward B., 2010. "Poverty, development, and environment," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(6), pages 635-660, December.
    11. Ravi Kanbur & Tony Venables, 2005. "Introduction: Spatial inequality and development," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 1-2, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Barbier, Edward B., 2016. "Is green growth relevant for poor economies?," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 178-191.
    2. Hochard, Jacob & Barbier, Edward, 2017. "Market Accessibility and Economic Growth: Insights from a New Dimension of Inequality," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 279-297.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rural Poverty Reduction; Regional Economic Development; Population Policies; Achieving Shared Growth;

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