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There is poverty convergence

Author

Listed:
  • Jesus Crespo Cuaresma

    (Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business)

  • Stephan Klasen

    (University of Göttingen)

  • Konstantin M. Wacker

    (University of Mainz)

Abstract

Martin Ravallion ("Why Don't We See Poverty Convergence?" American Economic Review, 102(1): 504-23; 2012) presents evidence against the existence of convergence in global poverty rates despite convergence in household mean income levels and the close linkage between income growth and poverty reduction. We show that this finding is driven by a specification that demands more than simple convergence in poverty headcount rates and assumes a growth elasticity of poverty reduction, which is well-known to accelerate with low initial poverty levels. If we motivate the poverty convergence equation using an arguably superior growth semi-elasticity of poverty reduction, we find highly significant and robust evidence of convergence in absolute poverty headcount ratios and poverty gaps. Relatedly, we show that the results in Ravallion (2012) are driven by the special income growth and poverty dynamics in Central and Eastern European transition economies that started with low initial poverty rates and thus observed a high elasticity of poverty reduction. Once we control for their abnormal poverty dynamics, we again find robust evidence of global convergence in poverty, even in the original specification by Ravallion (2012).

Suggested Citation

  • Jesus Crespo Cuaresma & Stephan Klasen & Konstantin M. Wacker, 2016. "There is poverty convergence," Department of Economics Working Papers wuwp213, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwwuw:wuwp213
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1998. "New ways of looking at old issues: inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 259-287.
    2. Carola Grün & Stephan Klasen, 2001. "Growth, income distribution and well‐being in transition countries," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 9(2), pages 359-394, July.
    3. Martin Ravallion, 2012. "Why Don't We See Poverty Convergence?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 504-523, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ouyang, Yusi & Shimeles, Abebe & Thorbecke, Erik, 2019. "Revisiting cross-country poverty convergence in the developing world with a special focus on Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 13-28.
    2. Richard Bluhm & Denis de Crombrugghe & Adam Szirmai, 2016. "Poverty Accounting. A fractional response approach to poverty decomposition," Working Papers 413, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    3. Asadullah, M. Niaz & Savoia, Antonio, 2018. "Poverty reduction during 1990–2013: Did millennium development goals adoption and state capacity matter?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 70-82.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    poverty convergence; economic growth; poverty trap; transition economies;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty

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