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  • Author: Augustin Kwasi Fosu
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The study presents recent global evidence on the transformation of economic growth to poverty reduction in developing countries, with emphasis on the role of income inequality. The focus is on the period since the early/mid-1990s when growth in these countries as a group has been relatively strong, surpassing that of the advanced economies. Both regional and country-specific data are analysed for the US$1.25 andUS$2.50 level poverty headcount ratios using the most recent World Bank data. The study finds that on average income growth has been the major driving force behind both the declines and increases in poverty. The study, however, documents substantial regional and country differences that are masked by this 'average' dominant growth story. While in the majority of countries growth was the major factor behind falling...
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty, Third World
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Peter Warr
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Thailand's development strategy has been strongly market-oriented and open to trade and investment flows with the rest of the world. Since the late 1950s, its growth performance has been outstanding. Poverty incidence has declined dramatically, but economic inequality has increased. Economic progress has been reflected in very significant improvement in non-economic indicators of well-being such as life expectancy, infant and maternal morality, and literacy. Nevertheless, the performance of the education system is chronically poor. Environmental problems and institutional failures in resource management are ongoing. Reform is needed in several areas, including political and corporate governance, regulation of industry, and in the education and health systems.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Emerging Markets, Poverty, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Samuel Kobina Annim
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the combined effect of interest rates and poverty levels of microfinance clients on loan size. Cross section data on 2,691 clients and non-clients households from Ghana is used to test the hypothesis of loan price inelasticity. Quantile regression and variants of least squares methods that explore endogeneity are employed. We find the expected inverse relationship only for the 20th to 40th quantile range. The semi-elasticity of loan amount responsiveness to a unit change in interest rate is more than proportionate and significant for the poorest group only. Market segmentation based on poverty level is suggested in targeting and sustaining microfinance clients.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Ravi Kanbur, Dennis Rodgers, Jo Beall
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper argues for a more systemic engagement with Latin American cities, contending it is necessary to reconsider their unity in order to nuance the 'fractured cities' perspective that has widely come to epitomise the contemporary urban moment in the region. It begins by offering an overview of regional urban development trends, before exploring how the underlying imaginary of the city has critically shifted over the past half century. Focusing in particular on the way that slums and shantytowns have been conceived, it traces how the predominant conception of the Latin American city moved from a notion of unity to a perception of fragmentation, highlighting how this had critically negative ramifications for urban development agendas, and concludes with a call for a renewed vision of Latin American urban life.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Urbanization
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Flavio Janches
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This article surveys the problem of urban marginalization by one of its more critical expressions in the contemporary city: the slums. The aim is to define an urban design strategy for the integration of those settlements as part of the city context, which enables to find solutions for the conflict improving these communities quality of life.
  • Topic: Poverty, Sociology, Urbanization
  • Author: Lucy Earle
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This study focuses on the city of São Paulo, Brazil and examines the ways in which irregular and illegal growth have influenced the collective action of social movements of the urban poor. The study describes how São Paulo grew as a socially segregated city during the twentieth century due to calculated neglect on the part of the municipal authorities. Highlighting the city's sociospatial inequality, degradation of the central districts and widespread irregularity, it illustrates how these factors have both negatively affected the urban poor and provided a catalyst for social mobilization.
  • Topic: Poverty, Social Stratification, Social Movement, Urbanization
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Channing Arndt, M. Azhar Hussain, E. Samuel Jones, Virgulino Nhate, Finn Tarp1, James Thurlow
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Measuring poverty remains a complex and contentious issue. This is particularly true in sub-Saharan Africa where poverty rates are higher, information bases typically weaker, and the underlying determinants of welfare relatively volatile. This paper employs recently collected data on household consumption in Mozambique to examine the evolution of consumption poverty with focus on the period 2002/03 to 2008/09. The paper contributes in four areas. First, the period in question was characterized by major movements in international commodity prices. Mozambique provides an illuminating case study of the implications of these world commodity price changes for living standards of poor people. Second, a novel 'backcasting' approach using a computable general equilibrium model of Mozambique, linked to a poverty module.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Oleksiy Ivaschenko, Cem Mete
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Tajikistan's rural sector has witnessed substantial development since the country began to emerge from civil conflict in 1999. Gross agricultural output increased 64 per cent from 1999 to 2003, and there were significant developments in the agricultural reform agenda. This paper uses the panel component of two surveys conducted in Tajikistan at one-year interval (2003 and 2004) to explore the major determinants of the transition out of/into poverty of rural households. Poverty status is measured in the asset space, thus indicating structural rather than transitory poverty movements. The empirical analysis reveals several interesting findings that are also important from a policy perspective: first, cotton farming seems to have no positive impact on poverty levels, nor on mobility out of poverty. Second, the rate of increase in the share of private farming at the district level had little impact on poverty levels and poverty mobility.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Asia, Tajikistan
  • Author: Dominique van der Mensbrugghe, Maurizio Bussolo, Rafael E. De Hoyos, Denis Medvedev
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Over the past 20 years, aggregate measures of global inequality have changed little even if significant structural changes have been observed. High growth rates of China and India lifted millions out of poverty, while the stagnation in many African countries caused them to fall behind. Using the World Bank's LINKAGE global general equilibrium model and the newly developed Global Income Distribution Dynamics (GIDD) tool, this paper assesses the distribution and poverty effects of a scenario where these trends continue in the future. Even by anticipating a deceleration, growth in China and India is a key force behind the expected convergence of per capita incomes at the global level. Millions of Chinese and Indian consumers will enter into a rapidly emerging global middle class—a group of people who can afford, and demand access to, the standards of living previously reserved mainly for the residents of developed countries. Notwithstanding these positive developments, fast growth is often characterized by high urbanization and growing demand for skills, both of which result in a widening of income distribution within countries. These opposing distributional effects highlight the importance of analysing global disparities by taking into account—as the GIDD does—income dynamics between and within countries.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, India, Asia
  • Author: Alok Bhargava
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper estimated models for GDP growth rates, poverty levels, and inequality measures for the period 1990–2000 using data on 54 developing countries at five-yearly intervals. Issues of globalization were investigated by analysing the differential effects of the countries' exports and imports and by postulating trans-logarithmic models that allow for non-linear effects of literacy levels and measures of openness. The main findings were that literacy rates affected growth rates in a quadratic manner and countries with higher literacy were more likely to benefit from globalization. Second, the model for growth rates showed non-linear and differential effects of the export/GDP and import/GDP ratios. Third, the models indicated that population health indicators such as life expectancy were important predictors of GDP growth rates. Fourth, models for poverty measures showed that poverty was not directly affected by globalization indicators. Finally, the model for Gini coefficients indicated significant effects of 'medium' and 'high' skilled labour work force, with higher proportions of high-skilled labour implying greater inequality.
  • Topic: Development, Education, International Trade and Finance, Poverty
  • Author: Marie-Claude Martin
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The interaction between available individual and collective resources in the determination of health is largely ignored in the literature on the relationship between poverty and health in developing countries. We analyse the role public resources play in the perception that rural women in Morocco have of their health. These resources are taken to contribute directly and indirectly to the improvement of individual health by, on the one hand, providing a health-promoting environment and, on the other, improving the individual's ability to produce health. The empirical results of multilevel models confirm the expected associations between socioeconomic status, individual vulnerability factors and health. Furthermore, the random part of the model suggests that variation in state of health is also associated with the presence of collective resources. However, the higher the level of women's individual wealth, the less the characteristics of the community in which they live seem to be associated with their health, and the less the potential vulnerability factors seem to constrain their ability to maintain or improve health. Our results suggest that collective investments derived from various areas of activity will be more favourable to improving health, insofar as they are adapted to the initial capacity of women to benefit from them.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Health, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Morocco
  • Author: Raghav Gaiha, Katsushi Imai
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper measures the vulnerability of households in rural India, based upon the ICRISAT panel survey. We employ both ex ante and ex post measures of vulnerability. The latter are decomposed into aggregate and idiosyncratic risks and poverty components. Our decomposition shows that idiosyncratic risks account for the largest share, followed by poverty and aggregate risks. Despite some degree of risk-sharing, the landless or small farmers are vulnerable to idiosyncratic risks, forcing them to reduce consumption. Income-augmenting policies therefore must be combined with those that not only reduce aggregate and idiosyncratic risks but also build resilience against them.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: T.H. Gindling, Katherine Terrell
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: To be competitive in the global economy, some argue that Latin American countries need to reduce or eliminate labour market regulations such as minimum wage legislation because they constrain job creation and hence increase poverty. On the other hand, minimum wage increases can have a direct positive impact on family income and may therefore help to reduce poverty. We take advantage of a complex minimum wage system in a poor country that has been exposed to the forces of globalization to test whether minimum wages are an effective poverty reduction tool in this environment. We find the net effect of minimum wage increases in Honduras is the reduction of extreme poverty, with an elasticity of -0.18, and all poverty, with an elasticity of -0.10 (using the national poverty lines). These results are driven entirely by the effect on workers in large private sector firms, where minimum wage legislation is enforced. Increases in the minimum do not affect the incidence of poverty among workers in sectors where minimum wages are not enforced (small firms) or do not apply (self-employed and public sector). Hence, we show that minimum wages can be used as a poverty reduction tool in the formal sector. However, we do not endorse minimum wages as the best tool as we have not carried out a complete cost-benefit analysis of this policy vis-à-vis others.
  • Topic: Poverty
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Central America, Honduras
  • Author: Marlene Attzs
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper explores the linkages between poverty and disaster vulnerability in the context of remittance flows to households in the Caribbean. Jamaica is used as the case study country. The paper discusses the channels through which natural disasters and remittances affect each other but also reviews the distribution of female-headed households in Jamaica as a percentage of households living below the poverty line and seeks to identify whether flows of remittances alleviate the post-disaster living conditions of such households.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Gender Issues, Health, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Jamaica
  • Author: Alejandro de la Fuente
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: International remittances have been portrayed as the human face of globalization given their potential to alleviate poverty by directly increasing household income. Using a panel of rural households in Mexico from October 1998 to November 2000 this study assesses whether this is in fact the case. However, rather than examining whether transfers income would reduce future consumption poverty we asked if transfers are likely to reach people whose conditions are prone to worsen in the future. We used vulnerability to consumption poverty to quantify the extent to which risks and the more permanent disadvantages embedded in most rural livelihoods, can translate into future declines in well-being. We found, contrary to our expectations, a negative and statistically significant relationship between the remittance of transfers, including foreign remittances, and the threat to future poverty that rural households could experience.
  • Topic: Globalization, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Mexico
  • Author: Karen Macours, Renos Vakis
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper provides unique evidence of the positive consequences of seasonal migration for investments in early childhood development. We analyse migration in a poor shockprone border region in rural Nicaragua where it offers one of the main household income diversification and risk coping strategies. IV estimates show, somewhat surprisingly, that mother's migration has a positive effect on early cognitive development. We attribute these findings to changes in income and to the intrahousehold empowerment gains resulting from mother's migration, which offset potential negative ECD effects from temporary lack of parenting. This paper, hence, illustrates how increased opportunities in seasonal migration due to higher South–South mobility might positively affect early childhood development and as such long term poverty reduction.
  • Topic: Health, Migration, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Nicaragua
  • Author: Calum G. Turvey, Rong Kong
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper investigates the economic conditions of rural households in China. Historical survey data indicate that over 80 per cent of rural households earn less than 4,500 yuan in net disposable income each year, that for the vast majority of rural households disposable income is insufficient to meet food consumption needs, and that in terms of economic growth rural households are receiving an ever decreasing percentage of China's growing economy with rural household incomes being only 31 per cent of urban household income in 2004.
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Paul Winters, Angeli Kirk, Benjamim Davis, Calogero Carletto
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: As developing countries continue on the path of economic liberalization, there is a compelling need to ensure that the benefits of globalization reach poor rural communities. Increased commercialization of agriculture and diversification into nontraditional exports (NTXs) is one strategy that has often been advocated as a way for developing countries to use their comparative advantage in lower labor costs and to achieve growth in the agricultural sector. Given the predominantly rural nature of most developing countries and the preponderance of poor people in these areas, high-value agricultural production is considered the ideal mechanism to extend the benefits of globalization directly to the rural poor:1 Allowing poor farmers to shift into the export sector and take advantage of internationally demand driven prices that are higher relative to traditional crops may reduce inequality while fostering overall economic growth (Nissanke and Thorbecke 2007).
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: T. H. Gindling, Katherine Terrell
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: To be competitive in the global economy, some argue that Latin American countries need to reduce or eliminate labor market regulations such as minimum wage legislation because they constrain job creation and hence increase poverty. On the other hand, minimum wage increases can have a direct positive impact on family income and may therefore help to reduce poverty. We take advantage of a complex minimum wage system in a poor country that has been exposed to the forces of globalization to test whether minimum wages are an effective poverty reduction tool in this environment. We find that minimum wage increases in Honduras reduce extreme poverty, with an elasticity of -0.18, and all poverty, with an elasticity of -0.10 (using the national poverty lines). These results are driven entirely by the effect on workers in large private sector firms, where minimum wage legislation is enforced. Increases in the minimum do not affect the incidence of poverty in sectors where minimum wages are not enforced (small firms) or do not apply (self-employed and public sector).
  • Topic: Globalization, Political Economy, Poverty, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ruslan Yemtsov
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: All countries in transition experienced increases in inequality. They have also undertaken massive privatization of key asset housing, often on give-away terms. Are these two phenomena related? Has transfer of ownership rights to residents slowed down the inequality increases or it pushed it up? Surprisingly little is known in this area. This paper attempts to provide empirical evidence to start answering these questions. It shows how housing privatization affected the distribution of personal wealth and inequality in current consumption based on recent representative household surveys from three transition countries: Poland, Russia and Serbia. Survey data are compared with figures derived from national accounts and housing statistics. Contrary to common belief and some earlier evidence of strong equalizing effect of housing distribution in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, the paper finds that the contribution of housing to the overall inequality levels is not strong, and is not universally progressive. There is also a significant variation across countries. In Russia and Serbia progressive. There is also a significant variation across countries. In Russia and Serbia features of privatization programmes resulted in better off households capturing more valuable housing assets on extremely beneficial terms, while in Poland privatization and housing reform led to more equitable outcomes. When owner occupied housing rents and durables are properly accounted for, the effects of housing ownership on inequality in current consumption are mildly progressive in Russia and Poland and regressive in Serbia. The paper argues that the information collected by regular household surveys provides only a starting point to study housing wealth distribution, and there are a number of gaps which should be addressed through improved data collection.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Poland, Serbia
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Yin Zhang
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper proposes a framework for incorporating longitudinal distributional changes into poverty decomposition. It is shown that changes in the Sen-Shorrocks-Thon index over time can be decomposed into two components—one component reflects the progressivity of income growth among the original poor, the other measures the extent of downward mobility experienced by the incumbent poor. The decomposition is applied to appraising poverty trends in China between 1988 and 1996. The results indicate that the proposed decomposition can complement the widely-used growthdistribution decomposition in providing insights into poverty dynamics.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Yin Zhang
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Applying the Shapley decomposition to unit-record household survey data, this paper investigates the trends and causes of poverty in China in the 1990s. The changes in poverty trends are attributed to two proximate causes; income growth and shifts in relative income distribution. The Foster-Greer-Thorbecke measures are computed and decomposed, with different datasets and alternative assumptions about poverty lines and equivalence. Among the robust results are: (i) both income growth and favourable distributional changes can explain China's remarkable achievement in combating poverty in rural areas in the first half of the 1990s; (2) in the second half of the 1990s, both rural and urban China suffered from rapidly rising inequality and stagnant income growth, leading to a slow-down in poverty reduction, even reversal of poverty trend.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Xavier Giné, Stefan Klonner
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We study the diffusion of a capital intensive technology among a fishing community in south India and analyze the dynamics of income inequality during this process. We find that lack of asset wealth is an important predictor of delayed technology adoption. During the diffusion process, inequality follows Kuznets' well-known inverted U-shaped curve. The empirical results imply that redistributive policies favouring the poor result in accelerated economic growth and a shorter duration of sharpened inequality.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Zhang-Yue Zhou
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: A comparative study of the public distribution systems of foodgrains in India and China is expected to reveal lessons and experiences that are valuable to policymakers. This is particularly important for developing countries in their endeavour to ensure food security. This paper undertakes such an exercise. The main features and developments of the two public distribution systems are first highlighted. This is followed by a comparative analysis of their similarities and differences. The role of public foodgrain distribution systems in ensuring food security is then evaluated. Finally, policy implications are drawn.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia
  • Author: Rimjhim M. Aggarwal
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: It is often argued that an important reason why globalization may lead to GDP growth but fail to reduce poverty is because the poor are unable to participate in the new market opportunities and are marginalized. In this paper we examine the experience of resource-poor farmers in south India, who participated aggressively in the new market opportunities that opened up with trade reforms. However, these expanded market opportunities failed to improve their welfare. The paper examines why and how this happened.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Globalization, Poverty
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Prasanta K. Pattanaik, Craig Gundersen, Indranil Dutta
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Food insecurity and hunger have traditionally been measured by aggregate food supplies or by variables correlated with food insecurity. Because these measures often poorly reflect individuals' true deprivation, economists have turned to surveys with direct questions about food insecurity. Using these surveys, households have then been classified into broad categories, a classification system which ignores the richness of the multiple questions. In this paper, we propose food insecurity measures, along the lines of the well established poverty measures, which incorporates this richness and allow us to reflect the depth and severity, in addition to the incidence, of food insecurity. Using these indices, we calculate the extent of food insecurity and hunger in the United States. Along with giving a richer picture of food insecurity in the US, these food insecurity measures demonstrates that the ordering of various demographic categories differs depends on the choice of measure.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Yin Zhang
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes the evolution of poverty in China from the late 1980s to the late 1990s, employing a version of Shapley decomposition tailored to unit-record household survey data. The changes in poverty trends are attributed to two proximate causes— income growth and shifts in income distribution. Different datasets, poverty lines, poverty measures, and equivalence scales are used to examine the robustness of the results. Potential biases arising from ignoring differential regional prices and inflation are also investigated. Notwithstanding some ambiguities in the results, it is consistently found that rural poverty increased in the second half of the 1990s and adverse distributional changes are the main cause.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Patrick Honohan
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Systematic information on household financial asset holdings in developing countries is very sparse; we review some available data and current policy debates. Although financial asset holdings by households are highly concentrated, deeper financial systems are correlated with improved income distribution. For low-income countries, the relevant question for poor households is not how much financial assets they have, but whether they have any access to financial products at all. Building on and synthesizing disparate data collection efforts by others, we produce new estimates of access percentages for over 150 countries. Across countries, access is negatively correlated with poverty rates, but the correlation is not a robust one, thus the supposed anti-poverty potential of financial access remains econometrically elusive. Despite policy focus on the value of credit instruments, it is deposit products that tend to be the first to be used as prosperity increases, before more sophisticated savings products and borrowing.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Author: Min-Dong Paul Lee
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This study attempts to convey an accurate and dynamic account of educational inequality in China during the last decade. The study finds that there is clear evidence of rapid expansion of education, and younger students all over China are benefiting from the expansion. One of the most notable achievements is the virtual elimination of gender bias against girls in educational attainment. However, analysis of province-level school enrolment data over the last decade shows evidence of persistent regional inequality of educational attainment. Students from inland provinces continue to face strong structural inequality in educational opportunity, and this structural inequality becomes more pronounced as they progress to higher grades. Moreover, inter-cohort analysis reveals that the inter-provincial inequality in upper grades is increasing for younger cohort of students, meaning that educational inequality in China is deteriorating further. Lastly, a decomposition analysis shows that the causes of inter-provincial educational inequality are quite complex and cannot simply be explained by the urban-bias hypothesis that is often suggested as the main source of income inequality.
  • Topic: Education, Human Rights, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Kuan Xu, Lars Osberg
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Before effective anti-poverty policy can be designed and implemented, the extent, trend and distribution of poverty must be identified. In this sense, poverty measurement is a crucial intermediate step in public policymaking and development planning. This paper asks whether the estimated proportion of the world's population with income below US$1 (adjusted according to purchasing power parity) per day is a good measure of trends in global poverty. We argue that the answer depends on two important issues in the measurement of poverty—the definition of the poverty line, and how best to summarize the level of poverty In this paper, we survey the literature on poverty measurement, demonstrate the importance of considering poverty incidence, depth and inequality jointly, present a simple but powerful graphical representation of the Sen and SST indices of poverty intensity (the poverty box) which is the FGT index of order 1 and extend our empirical work to China using the commonly accepted international poverty line definition of one half median equivalent income.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Guanghua Wan
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to develop two poverty decomposition frameworks and to illustrate their applicability. A given level of poverty is broadly decomposed into an overall inequality component and an overall endowment component in terms of income or consumption determinants or input factors. These components are further decomposed into finer components associated with individual inputs. Also, a change in poverty is decomposed into components attributable to the growth and redistributions of factor inputs. An empirical illustration using Chinese data highlights the importance of factor redistributions in determining poverty levels and poverty changes in rural China.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Terutomo Ozawa
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The notion of 'shared growth' was introduced by the World Bank in recognition of East Asia's rapid growth accompanied by poverty reduction. It emphasizes the criticality of pro-poor policies and institutional setups in the fast-developing East Asian economies. The efforts of these individual countries are, however, a necessary but not sufficient condition (explanation). There is a more essential, underlying region-wide mechanism that simultaneously promotes regionalized growth and specifically favours Asia's working mass of unskilled labour. Such an efficacious mechanism is posited in the 'flying-geese paradigm of comparative advantage recycling in labour-intensive goods'. The paper argues that a number of favourable factors have fortuitously coalesced to engender a considerably favourable condition for Asia's rapid catch-up growth in which unskilled labour (the poor) can participate as their countries' most vital input in labour-driven development.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Zhicheng Liang
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: China has experienced rapid integration into the global economy and achieved remarkable progress in poverty reduction over the last two decades. In this paper, by employing panel data covering twenty-five Chinese provinces over the period of 1986- 2002, and applying the endogenous threshold regression techniques, we empirically investigate the globalization-poverty nexus in China, paying particular attention to the nonlinearity of the impact of globalization on the poor. Estimation results provide strong evidence to suggest that there exists a threshold in the relationship between globalization and poverty: globalization is good for the poor only after the economy has reached a certain threshold level of globalization.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Hyun H. Son, Nanak Kakwani
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper looks into the interrelation between economic growth, inequality, and poverty. Using the notion of pro-poor growth, this study examines to what extent the poor benefit from economic growth. First, various approaches to defining and measuring pro-poor growth are scrutinized using a variety of criteria. It is argued that the satisfaction of a monotonicity axiom is a key criterion for measuring pro-poor growth. The monotonicity axiom sets out a condition that the proportional reduction in poverty is monotonically an increasing function of the pro-poor growth measure. This paper proposes a pro-poor growth measure that satisfies the monotonicity criterion. This measure is called the 'poverty equivalent growth rate', which takes into account both the magnitude of growth and how the benefits of the growth are distributed to the poor and the non-poor. As the new measure satisfies the criterion of monotonicity, it is indicative that to achieve a rapid poverty reduction, the poverty equivalent growth rate ought to be maximized rather than the actual growth rate. The methodology developed in the paper is then applied to Asian countries, including the Republic of Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Asia, Vietnam, Korea, Thailand
  • Author: Wayne Nafziger
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper compares perspectives on the meaning of development in the late 1970s and early 1980s to the contemporary period, with a focus on the works of Dudley Seers and Amartya Sen. Both men were critical of the development literature of their times. Seers was especially critical of neoclassicism's universal claims and economic growth as the prime objective. For Sen, development involves reducing deprivation or broadening choice. One challenge for future work is for development economists, similar to Seers and Sen, to be more holistic, integrating economic development, human rights, and conflict reduction.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Author: Hyun H. Son, Nanak Kakwani
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper suggests how the targeting efficiency of government programmes may be better assessed. Using the 'pro-poor policy' (PPP) index developed by authors, the study investigates the pro-poorness of not only government programmes geared to the poorest segment of the population, but also basic service delivery in education, health and infrastructure. This paper also shows that the targeting efficiency for a particular socioeconomic group should be judged on the basis of a 'total-group PPP index', to capture the impact of operating a programme within the group. Using micro-unit data from household surveys, the paper presents a comparative analysis for Thailand, Russia, Vietnam and 15 African countries.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Vietnam, Thailand
  • Author: Alemayehu Geda, Daniel Zerfu, Abebe Shimeles
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this paper, using the rich household panel data of urban and rural Ethiopia that covers the period from 1994 to 2000, we attempted to establish the link between finance and poverty in Ethiopia. Our results show that access to finance is an important factor in consumption smoothing and hence poverty reduction. We also found evidence for a poverty trap due to liquidity constraints that limits the ability of the rural households from consumption smoothing. The empirical findings from this study could inform finance policies aimed at addressing issues of poverty reduction.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Erik Thorbecke, Machiko Nissanke
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: While the opportunities offered by globalization can be large, the question is often raised whether the actual distribution of gains is fair and, in particular, whether the poor benefit proportionately less from globalization and could under some circumstances actually be hurt by it. The paper discusses channels and transmission mechanisms through which the process of globalization affects different aspects and dimensions of poverty in the developing world. It examines how these numerous channels interact, as the net effects on poverty depend on the relative strength of the positive and negative forces of globalization. On the basis of our analysis of these transmission mechanisms from globalization to the world's poor, the paper discusses what may constitute a policy framework for encouraging globalization to be pro-poor.
  • Topic: Development, Globalization, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Author: M.S. Quresh
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper revisits the pollution haven hypothesis in the context of Pakistan by offering a systematic analysis of its trade and production patterns. Using bilateral trade statistics from 1975-2003, we test the hypotheses that Pakistan's net exports of pollutionintensive products have increased to the OECD countries. We also investigate if the stringency of environmental governance in the importing countries plays a role in determining Pakistan's exports of pollution-intensive products. The results reveal that there has been a change in the composition of output and exports towards pollutionintensive manufacturing that parallels the opening of the economy. Overall, the findings appear to be in favour of the pollution haven hypothesis and call for effective environmental policy response for poverty alleviation and sustainable development.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia
  • Author: Yujiro Hayami
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Using a rice village in the Philippines as a social observatory, the impacts of modernization forces under globalization on rural poverty are assessed based on data collected from recurrent household surveys over the past three decades. After cultivation frontiers closed in the early 1950s relentless population increases continued to press hard on limited land resources in this village. This pauperizing force was counteracted to some extents by the development of irrigation systems followed by the diffusion of modern high-yielding varieties of rice. However, the much more important factor that prevented poverty incidence from increasing and income inequality from worsening was identified as the expansion of non-farm employment opportunities resulting from the increased integration of this village with wide urban and foreign markets. This finding does not lend support to the popular assertion that the encroachment of markets into traditional agrarian communities tends to result in greater inequality and misery of the poor.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Globalization, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Author: Justin Yifu Lin, Peilin Liu
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper argues that both openness and poverty in a country are endogenously determined by the country's long-term economic development strategy. Development strategies can be broadly divided into two mutually exclusive groups: (i) the comparative advantage-defying (CAD) strategy, which attempts to encourage firms to deviate from the economy's existing comparative advantages in their entry into an industry or choice of technology; and (ii) the comparative advantage-following (CAF) strategy, which attempts to facilitate the firms' entry into an industry or choice of technology according to the economy's existing comparative advantages.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Yin Zhang
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the distributional impact of globalization on the poor in urban China. Employing the kernel density estimation technique, we recovered from irregularly grouped household survey data the income distribution for 29 Chinese provinces for 1988-2001. Panels of the income shares of the poorest 20, 10 and 5 per cent of the urban residents were then compiled. In a fixed-effect model, two of the central conclusions of Dollar and Kraay (2002)—that 'the incomes of the poor rise equi-proportionately with average income' and that trade openness has little distributional effect on poverty—were revisited. Our results lend little support to either of the Dollar-Kraay conclusions, but instead indicate that average income growth is associated with worsening income distribution while globalization in general, and trade openness in particular, raises the income shares of the poor. It is also found that openness to trade and openness to FDI have differential distributional effects. The beneficial effect of trade was not restricted to the coastal provinces only, but also weakened significantly after 1992. These findings are robust to allow for nonlinearity in the effect of globalization and to control for the influence of several other variables.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Arup Mirtra, N.R. Bhanumurthy
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this paper an attempt is made to assess the impact of economic reforms on the incidence of poverty by decomposing the change in poverty ratio between two time points into growth/mean effect, inequality effect and the population shift effect. Based on the National Sample Survey data an analysis has been carried out for two time periods: (i) 1983 to 1993-94 and (ii) 1993-94 to 1999-2000, broadly representing the pre-reform and reform-period respectively, for the rural and urban areas of the fifteen major states, and also for the all-India level. The growth/mean effect, which determines the extent of fall (rise) in poverty incidence due to rise (fall) in mean per capita consumption expenditure, dominates in both the periods over the inequality effect, that estimates the rise (fall) in poverty due to rise (fall) in inequality. It also dominates over the population shift effect, which assesses the net impact on all-areas combined poverty, of a decline (rise) in rural (urban) poverty caused possibly by rural-urban migration. The growth effect, which is beneficial for poverty reduction, seems to have gone up in the reform period. The adverse inequality effect also fell in magnitude in the second period compared to the first. States with a greater beneficial growth effect in the second period relative to the first, also show a fall in the magnitude of an adverse population shift effect in the urban areas, i.e., a relatively less rise in the incidence of urban poverty caused by rural-urban migration.
  • Topic: Development, Globalization, Poverty
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Indranil Dutta
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this paper we explore what impact, if any, government debts have on achieving the Millennium Development Goals for the Indian states. To fulfill the goals, national governments, especially in the developing world, have to undertake major investments in the social sector; but how much they will really be able to do so will depend on the conditions of their finances. For the Indian states we find that government investment in the social sector is extremely important to reduce poverty, but the government's debt burden is actually stopping several states from attaining the MDG targets. Although, in the medium term the impact of the debt on poverty is not very harmful, in the longer run it has a significant negative impact. Therefore for policy purposes reduction in debt should be given a priority.
  • Topic: Debt, Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Stephen Klasen, Kenneth Harttgen, Melanie Grosse
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In order to track progress in MDG1 and explicitly link growth, inequality, and poverty reduction, several measures of 'pro-poor growth' have been proposed in the literature and used in applied academic and policy work. These measures, particularly the ones derived from the growth incidence curve, allow a much more detailed assessment of the distributional impact of growth and its link to poverty reduction. However, there are no corresponding measures for tracking the distribution of progress in non-income dimensions of poverty, and thus the distribution of progress towards MDGs 2-7. In this paper, we propose to extend the pro-poor growth measurement to non-income dimensions of poverty (particularly health and education). We empirically illustrate the approach for Bolivia and show that it allows a much more detailed assessment of progress towards MDGs 2-7 by focusing on the distribution of progress. Furthermore, this extension also allows an explicit assessment of the linkage between progress in MDG1 and MDGs 2-7 as well as extends traditional incidence analysis by quantifying outcomes in non-income dimensions of poverty along the income distribution.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Europe, Bolivia
  • Author: Frances Stewart
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Karl Polanyi wrote The Great Transformation in 1944 which analysed the double movement Europe experienced, from a situation where the market was heavily regulated and controlled in the eighteenth century to a virtually unregulated market in the nineteenth century, and the huge transformation in which the market was once more brought under control as a reaction to the poverty, unemployment and insecurity brought about by the unregulated market. Yet in both developed and developing countries there has since been a reaction with a new move towards the market. This paper analyses such processes in contemporary developing countries, and considers whether, in the light of the consequences of the unregulated market, a new Great Transformation is needed. It also considers whether such a transformation is likely, reviewing moves towards increased regulation of the market, and also the challenges faced by any contemporary great transformation arising from globalization and the nature of politics.
  • Topic: Development, Markets, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: George Mavrotas, S. Mansoob Murshed
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The present paper utilises a short-run theoretical macroeconomic model of a small open economy to look at the impact of macroeconomic policies and financial deepening upon poverty through sectoral changes. This is because an expansion in certain sectors may cause greater poverty reduction. The model involves a non-traded and a traded sector on the formal side of the economy. The former is more capital intensive and the latter more unskilled labour intensive. Increased employment in the traded sector is more pro-poor compared to a similar rise in the non-traded sector as the former draws workers out of poverty in the informal sector. The model in our paper analyses short-run effects of devaluation, a rise in the money supply induced by financial deepening, and taxation to discourage non-traded goods consumption. Financial deepening can induce greater output and reduce poverty. Other results are mixed and taxonomic. We also attempt to differentiate between the stylised experiences of East Asia and Latin America. East Asian economies have relied more heavily on labour-intensive manufactured exports, whereas Latin America has had a relatively greater share of capital intensive and natural resource based exports. In recent decades countries in these two regions have had differing experiences in poverty reduction, with poverty arguably declining more in East Asia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: East Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Peter Quartey
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper primarily investigates the interrelationship between financial sector development and poverty reduction in Ghana. This is done using time-series data from the World Development Indicators from 1970-2001. The main findings are, first, that even though financial sector development does not Granger-cause savings mobilization in Ghana, it induces poverty reduction; and second, that savings do Granger-cause poverty reduction in Ghana. Also, the effect of financial sector development on poverty reduction is positive but insignificant. This is due to the fact that financial intermediaries in Ghana have not adequately channelled savings to the pro-poor sectors of the economy because of government deficit financing, high default rate, lack of collateral and lack of proper business proposals. Another interesting finding is that there is a long-run co integration relationship between financial sector development and poverty reduction.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Bram Thuysbaert, Ricardas Zitikis
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: If uncertainty exists over the exact location of the poverty line or over which measure to use to compare poverty between distributions, one may want to check whether poverty dominance holds. We develop a consistent statistical test to test the null of poverty dominance against the alternative of nondominance. Dominance criteria corresponding to absolute and relative poverty measures are dealt with. The poverty line is allowed to depend on the income distribution. A bootstrap procedure is proposed to estimate critical values for the test. Our results cover both independent and paired samples.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Author: S. Subramanian
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This note points to certain similarities of orientation and outcome between Derek Parfit's quest for a theory of beneficence and Amartya Sen's quest for a suitable real-valued representation of poverty. It suggests th at both projects, in a certain sense, have been instructive failures. Using Sen's own work, the note also suggests a logically natural way of dealing with some of the problems in poverty measurement reviewed in it—but only to reject this way out on other compelling grounds.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Author: S. Subramanian
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In a heterogeneous population which can be partitioned into well-defined subgroups, it is plausible that the extent of measured aggregate poverty should depend upon the distribution of poverty across the subgroups. A judgment in favour of an equal inter-group distribution of poverty could arise in two ways. In the first approach, equality is upheld as an intrinsic social virtue, and the aggregate measure of poverty, in line with this view, is 'adjusted' to reflect the extent of inter-group disparity in the distribution of poverty that obtains. In the present paper, this approach is examined, with specific reference to the advancement of a diagrammatic aid to analysis called the group poverty profile. In the second approach, equality is upheld for instrumental reasons which arise from the observed fact that any individual's level of deprivation is a function not only of one's own income, but of the general level of prosperity of the group to which one is affiliated. Individual deprivation functions are specialized to a form which reflects this 'group-affiliation' externality, and the resulting poverty measure is studied with respect to its properties, and its implications for inter-group equity. The analysis is briefly extended to a review of the measurement of literacy, along externality-motivated lines suggested elsewhere by Basu and Foster. The paper concludes that social realism in the measurement of deprivation is often compromised by mainstream approaches to economic theorizing in which both heterogeniety and group-related externalities are generally de-emphasized.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Author: Ethan Ligon
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: 'Globalization' implies change, and uncertainty over future change may affect household welfare. We use data on Lorenz curves over the last fifty years for a sample of 53 (mostly developing) countries. Treating each country-quintile-year as an observation, we first account for variation in consumption expenditures, finding that global shocks are of less importance than country -level shocks in explaining variation in country-quintile consumption growth. While poorer households experience more rapid consumption growth than do wealthier households, they also bear much more risk. However, we find no evidence that this greater risk is related to globalization.
  • Topic: Development, Globalization, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Yin Zhang
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper proposes a semi-parametric method for poverty decomposition, which combines the data-generating procedure of Shorrocks and Wan (2004) with the Shapley value framework of Shorrocks (1999). Compared with the popular method of Datt and Ravallion (1992), our method is more robust to misspecification errors, does not require the predetermination of functional forms, provides better fit to the underlying Lorenz curve and incorporates the residual term in a rigorous way. The method is applied to decomposing variations of urban poverty across the Chinese provinces into three components – contributions by the differences in average nominal income, inequality and poverty line. The results foreground average income as the key determinant of poverty incidence, but also attach importance to the influence of distribution. The regional pattern of the decomposition suggests provincial groupings based not entirely on geographical locations.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: D. Jayaraj, S. Subramanian
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper explores the hypothesis that the phenomenon of child labour is explicable in terms of poverty that compels a household to keep its children out of school and put them to work in the cause of the househol d's survival. In exploring the link between child labour and poverty in the Indian context, the paper advances the view that the nature of the connection is more readily apprehended if both the variables under study are defined more expansively and inclusively than is customarily the case. Specifically, the suggestion is that it may be realistic to include those children who are conventionally categorized as 'non-workers not attending school' within the count of child labourers. It is also suggested that poverty is meaningfully measured in terms of a multi-dimensional approach to the problem, wherein the aim is to assess generalized capability failure—arising from want of access to elementary infrastructural facilities and essential amenities—with respect to a number of basic human functionings. The core of the paper's argument is presented by means of a simple analytical model of child labour and deprivation, and the issues emerging from it are studied in the Indian context with the support of bot h primary and secondary data.
  • Topic: Education, Human Rights, Poverty
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Alice Sindzingre
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper focuses on the non-linearity of the transmission of the impact of globalization on poverty and the existence of threshold effects. Institutions constitute a critical factor for the creation of threshold effects in the impact of globalization on poverty. Institutions—their credibility, ability to be transformed by globalization, and the ways they give the poor access to the beneficial effects of globalization—determine whether the benefits of globalization are spread to the poor or are locked in by particular groups. They also determine whether or not the negative shocks associated with globalization are transmitted in an unfettered manner. The paper presents a theory of institutions that distinguishes several components, which evolve differently and explain the threshold effects that institutions generate upon the impact of globalization on the poor. The paper then shows that social institutions and norms have a critical role in the generation of these threshold effects. It finally examines the interactions between social institutions and state policies institutions, which may contribute to the formation of poverty traps.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, Poverty
  • Author: Justine Nannyonjo
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The long-running conflict in northern Uganda has led to major violations of human rights against civilians, destruction of infrastructure, reduced access to social services, and paralysed economic activity. Creating peace and fostering reconciliation in the region have not been successful either, thereby hindering development and relief activities, which are further constrained by in sufficient funding, and lack of capacity at the district and community levels. The main challenges for reconstruction in northern Uganda are therefore to: (i) achieve peace and reconciliation (ii) provide basic social services to the affected areas (iii) strengthen government capacity to coordinate development and relief activities and (iv) harmonize interventions by the various stakeholders to achieve increased flexibility and transparency.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Erik Thorbecke, Machiko Nissanke
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper offers a critical literature review of the debate surrounding the globalization-poverty nexus, focusing on channels and linkages through which globalization affects the poor. After introducing four different concepts used to measure trends in world income inequality, it examines first the 'growth' conduit through which globalization affects poverty. Treating inequality as the explicit filter between growth and poverty reduction, the causal chain of openness-growth-inequality-poverty is scrutinized, link by link. The paper then moves on to examine other channels in the globalization-poverty nexus that operate through changes in relative factor and good prices, factor movements, the nature of technological change and diffusion, the impact of globalization on volatility and vulnerability, the worldwide flow of information, global disinflation, and institutions, respectively. The paper concludes with a discussion of strategic policy issues within the context of the globalization debate.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Globalization, Poverty
  • Author: George Mavrotas, David Fielding
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Issues related to the volatility of aid flows are now becoming crucial in view of their relevance to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The paper examines aid volatility using data for 66 aid recipients over the period 1973-2002. We improve upon earlier work in this important area by disaggregating total aid inflows into sector and programme aid. In this way we avoid focussing on a single aggregate, unlike most previous studies on aid volatility. We also adopt a different methodology to capture aid volatility. The institutional quality of the aid recipient affects the stability of sector aid but not that of programme assistance. Moreover, more open economies, which tend to be smaller and richer, ceteris paribus, are associated with more volatile sector aid flows.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, International Cooperation, Poverty
  • Author: Rehman Sobhan
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper argues that poverty originates in the structural injustices of a social order which incapacitates the poor from participating in the growth generating sectors of the economy and leaves them captives in the so called informal sector, characterized by low productivity and low earning capacity. In such a system the poor remain individualized and hence disempowered which compels them to interface with the market economy on highly inequitable terms which relegates them to the lowest tiers of the value addition chain. The need for a macro-policy designed to eliminate poverty is premised on the argument that poverty originates in the structural features of society which can only be addressed at the macro-level. Policy interventions, to redesign the structural sources of poverty, bring into consideration issues of social, political as well as economic reform.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Author: S. Subramanian
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper points to some elementary conflicts between the claims of interpersonal and intergroup justice as they manifest themselves in the process of seeking a real-valued index of poverty which is required to satisfy certain seemingly desirable properties. It indicates how 'group—sensitive' poverty measures, similar to the Anand-Sen (1995) 'Gender Adjusted Human Development Index' and the Subramanian-Majumdar (2002) 'Group-Disparity Adjusted Deprivation Index', may be constructed. Some properties of a specific 'group-sensitive' poverty index are appraised, and the advantage of having a 'flexible' measure which is capable of effecting a tradeoff between the claims of interpersonal and inter-group equality is spelt out. The implications of directly incorporating group disparities into the measurement of poverty for poverty comparisons and anti-poverty policy are also discussed.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty, International Affairs
  • Author: Shatakshee Dhongde
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Over the last decade, India has been one of the fastest growing economies, and has experienced considerable decline in overall income poverty. However, in a vast country like India, poverty levels vary significantly across the different states. In this paper, we analyze the differences between poverty at the state and national level, separately for the rural and urban sector, in the year 1999-2000. Instead of following the usual practice of decomposing the changes in poverty over time, we decompose the changes in poverty across regions. Such decomposition reveals that differences in state and national poverty levels were largely explained by differences in the state and national mean income levels. Differences in the state and national distributions of income were less important in explaining spatial differences in poverty. An important policy implication of our results is that states with extremely high levels of poverty would have reduced poverty significantly by raising their mean income levels to the national mean income, instead of changing their distribution of income to match the national income distribution.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Tomoki Fujii
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this study, we combined the Cambodian socioeconomic survey for 1997 and the country's population census of 1998 to produce poverty measures at the commune-level in Cambodia using the small-area estimation technique developed by Elbers, Lanjouw and Lanjouw. While there are a number of communes for which the standard errors associated with the estimates are too high, we found that they are on average small enough to be useful. We illustrate the application of poverty maps with reference to education programmes.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Cambodia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Peter Burnell
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This study is premised on the view that reports circulating in the 1990s, claiming foreign aid was in terminal crisis, were premature. Aid's reviving fortunes are explained in terms both of a growing awareness of the uneven implications of globalization and the after-effects of the terrorist events of 11 September 2001. However these two 'drivers' make uneasy partners. Furthermore, aid for democratization, argued in the 1990s to be an instrument for indirectly addressing socioeconomic weakness and improving development aid's effectiveness—making it a positive feature in a bleak decade—is increasingly seen as problematic. For now, aid's resurgence should target pro-poor development rather than democratic reform, although the likelihood is that old fashioned determinants of realpolitik will continue to get in the way.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Author: S. Mansoob Murshed, Scott Gates
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The Maoist insurgency in Nepal is one of the highest intensity internal conflicts in recent times. Investigation into the causes of the conflict would suggest that grievance rather than greed is the main motivating force. The concept of horizontal or inter-group inequality, with both an ethnic and caste dimension, is highly relevant in explaining the Nepalese civil war. There is also a spatial aspect to the conflict, which is most intense in the most disadvantaged areas in terms of human development indicators and land holdings. Using the intensity of conflict (fatalities) as the dependent variable and HDI indicators and landlessness as explanatory variables, we find that the intensity of conflict across the districts of Nepal is significantly explained by the degree of inequalities.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Abebe Shimeles, Arne Bigsten
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines trends in income distribution and its linkages to economic growth and poverty reduction in order to understand the prospects for achieving poverty reduction in Africa. We examine the levels and trends in income distribution in some African countries and calculate pro-poor growth indices. Different growth patterns are simulated for Ethiopia, Uganda, Mozambique, and South Africa. We conclude that the balance between policies aimed at growth and measures aimed at redistribution should depend on the elasticity of the growth-equity tradeoff. We also discuss what the appropriate ingredients of a pro-poor strategy would be in the African setting.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, South Africa, Mozambique, Ethiopia
  • Author: Oleksiy Ivaschenko
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the impact of changes in poverty and public health spending on inter-temporal variations in longevity using a unique regional-level dataset that covers 77 regions of Russia over the period 1994-2000. The dynamic panel data model is used as a tool for the empirical analysis. The model is estimated using the Arellano-Bond dynamic panel data estimator. The changes in regional levels of poverty and real per capita public health expenditure are identified to be significant determinants of the variations observed in longevity over time. The empirical results indicate that while male life expectancy responds more strongly than female life expectancy to economic circumstances, the latter appears to be more predisposed to the influence of public health spending. The results support the idea that the (positive) effect of public health spending on life expectancy is larger for those regions that experience higher incidences of poverty. The paper also finds that the financial crisis which hit Russia at the end of 1998 had a significant negative effect on longevity independently of the factors directly related to poverty and public health spending.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Political Economy, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Abebe Shimeles, Arne Bigsten
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper addresses issues related to the dynamics of income poverty using unique household panel data for urban and rural areas of Ethiopia covering the period 1994-97. The percentage of households that remained in poverty was twice as large in urban areas as in rural areas. This suggests that income variability is a serious problem in rural areas, while the persistence is a key feature of urban poverty. The paper also discusses household characteristics that are correlated with the incidence of chronic poverty as well as vulnerability to poverty. A strategy that promotes consumption smoothing through say access to credit can work well in rural areas, while income or employment generation are required for poverty alleviation in urban areas.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Mozaffar Qizilbash
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: It is often argued that multi-dimensional measures of well-being and poverty—such as those based on the capability approach and related views—are ad hoc. Rankings based on them are not, for this reason, robust to changes in the selection of weights used. In this paper, it is argued that the extent of potential arbitrariness and the range of issues relating to robustness have been underestimated in this context. Several issues relating to both the identification of the poor and the use of dimension-specific data are distinguished. These issues are then discussed in the context of the inter-provincial ranking of poverty in South Africa in 1995-6. It turns out that this ranking is fairly robust, and that some important policy-relevant results about the distinction between 'income'/'expenditure' and 'human' poverty for the South African context are reinforced rather than undermined by checking for robustness. In particular, while KwaZulu Natal is in the best three in terms of the standard expenditure measures for various choices of poverty line, it is third worst in terms of all the multi-dimensional rankings presented here.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Kathryn Anderson, Richard Pomfret
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper focuses on inequality in living standards across oblasts and regions within Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Regional inequality is an important area of research and policy development. Inequality in income and consumption are logical outcomes in a market-based economic system. If inequality within countries exists because of barriers to competition, then inequality can foment internal tension, and economic and social development within countries is negatively affected. We examine Living Standards Measurement data from Tajikistan, Kyrgystan, and Kazakhstan and additional survey data from Uzbekistan. We find that the most important explanations for the variation in expenditures per capita in the region are household location, household composition, and education. We find large variation in per capita expenditure by location within each country, and the differences go beyond the simple rural-urban distinction. Family structure is also important, and in all countries, having a university educated household head significantly improves household welfare; expenditures are higher in these households than in households with less educated heads. We examine inequality in access to community services and find that provision of public goods reinforces regional inequality patterns in expenditures that we measure among households. The poorest households are likely to live in communities with the lowest access to public services.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan
  • Author: Henning Tarp Jensen, Finn Tarp
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this paper we calibrate two static computable general equilibrium (CGE) models with respectively 16 and 5,999 representative households. Aggregated and disaggregated household categories are consistently embedded in a 2000 social accounting matrix for Vietnam, mapping on a one-to-one basis to each other. Distinct differences in poverty assessments emerge when the impact of trade liberalization is analyzed in the two models. This highlights the importance of modeling micro household behavior and related income and expenditure distributions endogenously within a static CGE model framework. Our simulations indicate that poverty will rise following a revenue-neutral lowering of trade taxes. This is interpreted as a worst case scenario, which suggests that government should be proactive in combining trade liberalization measures with a propoor fiscal response to avoid increasing poverty in the short to medium term.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Vietnam, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Andrew Sumner
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper discusses the measurement of poverty and well-being. A historical overview is given of the last fifty years. This is followed by discussion of three groupings of indicators: those measures based primarily on economic well-being; those based on non-economic well-being and composite indicators. It is argued that the choice of indicator should reflect its purpose and that economic measures are best when quick, rough-and-ready, short run, aggregate inferences are required. In contrast, non-economic measures are better when greater depth on medium- or longer-term trends and/or dis-aggregation are required.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Author: Mariano Rojas
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This investigation studies human well-being from a subjective well-being approach. On the basis of a Mexican database the investigation shows that there is a weak relationship between subjective well-being and indicators of well-being such as income and consumption. Therefore, subjective well-being provides additional useful information to study human well-being and, in consequence, poverty.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Central America, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Steve Dowrick
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Internation comparisons of average national incomes omit important information about leisure, home production, health, etc. They are also bedevilled by index number problems. This paper suggests ways of combining working hours and life-expectancy with income comparisons, and shows that the fixed-price indexes of real income, such as those in the Penn World Table, substantially understate the income gaps between the poorest and richest countries.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Author: Ruut Veenhoven
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper deals with three questions: (1) What are 'subjective' measures? (2) What is 'well-being'? and (3) Are subjective measures of well-being of use for policymaking, in particular in developing nations?
  • Topic: Development, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Author: Des Gasper
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Economic measures of income have ignored large areas of human well-being and are poor measures of well-being in the areas to which they attend. Despite increased recognition of those distortions, 'GNP per capita continues to be regarded as the quintessential indicator of a country's living standard' (Partha Dasgupta). Well-being seems to have intuitive plausibility as a concept, but in practice we encounter a bewilderingly diverse family of concepts and approaches, partly reflecting different contexts, purposes, and foci of attention. Is there a unifying framework that yet respects the complexity and diversity of well-being? This paper presents an imperfect comparative and integrative framework that builds on the contributions by Sen and others. We move toward the framework gradually, since well-being concepts are in fact complex entitities which reflect pictures of personhood and of science. Insight grows through surveying a wide range of relevant experience and views, before risking blinkering one's vision in a framework. The paper then uses the framework to examine conceptualizations of human well-being, by Dasgupta, Sen, Nussbaum, Doyal and Gough, and Alkire.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Author: Stephan Klasen
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper discusses the rationale as well as the challenges involved when constructing gender-related indicators of well-being. It argues that such indicators are critically important but that their construction involves a number of conceptual and measurement problems. Among the conceptual issues considered are the space in which gender inequality in well-being is to be measured, whether the indicators should track wellbeing of males and females separately or adjust overall measures of well-being by the gender inequality in well-being, whether gender equality in every indicator is necessarily the goal, how to assess gender inequality that is apparently desired by males and females, and what role indicators of agency or empowerment should play in genderrelated indicators of well-being. Among the most important measurement issues addressed are; the role of the household in allocating resources, the question of stocks versus flows, as well as significant data gaps when it comes to gender inequalities. Where appropriate, remedies to the conceptual and measurement issues are proposed. The paper also briefly reviews UNDP's gender-related indices to illustrate some of the challenges involved.
  • Topic: Development, Gender Issues, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Author: Erik Thorbecke
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The objective of this paper is to review a number of issues related to poverty, while taking stock of the ongoing research. Most of the remaining unresolved issues in poverty analysis are related directly or indirectly to the dynamics of poverty. Before the development community can become more successful in designing and implementing poverty-alleviation strategies, within the context of growth, we need to understand better the conditions under which some households remain permanently (chronically) poor and how others move in and out of poverty. In what follows we review the state of the art under a number of interrelated headings: (1) Chronic vs. transient poverty; (2) Poverty and vulnerability; (3) The determination of the poverty line across time and countries; (4) The quantitative vs. qualitative approach to poverty measurement; and (5) Growth, inequality and poverty.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Author: Anthony Shorrocks
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper establishes the principles which should govern the welfare and inequality analysis of heterogeneous income distributions. Two basic criteria—the 'equity preference' condition and the 'compensation principle'—are shown to be fundamentally incompatible. The paper favours the latter, thereby vindicating the traditional method of dealing with heterogeneous samples. However, inequality and welfare comparisons will usually be well defined only if equivalent incomes are obtained using constant scale factors; and researchers will need to distinguish clearly between inequality of nominal incomes and inequality of living standards. Furthermore, household observations must always be weighted according to family size.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Author: Bart Capéau, André Decoster
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In the age of globalization, the question whether inequality in the world rose or fell down, is a hot topic. Leading scholars in the field of economic inequality measurement developed methods to estimate empirically the distribution of welfare (income) amongst world citizens. Despite their similar methodologies, they do not seem to agree about the conclusion. In the present paper we pinpoint what drives the two extreme positions apart. Sala-i-Martin (2002a, b), who claims that there can be no doubt that world inequality went down between the late 1970s and the late 1990s, has in fact calculated population weighted inequality between countries. Milanovic (2002a, b, c) does not deny this, but illustrates the empirical importance of divergent tendencies at the sub-national level (especially urban versus rural regions) for assessing true world inequality and comes to the reverse conclusion. Nevertheless, there seems to be unanimity, especially amongst the contributions quoted here, about the inequality measure(s) to be used for assessing world income distributions. We show that at least for international inequality, there is empirical evidence for rank reversals among the class of generalized entropy measures and expect the same to be true of world inequality. However, the normative debate about which inequality measure to use for assessing true world inequality has not yet begun.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Third World
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Anthony Shorrocks
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper reviews the theory and application of decomposition techniques in the context of spatial inequality. It establishes some new theoretical results with potentially wide applicability, and examines empirical evidence drawn from a large number of countries.
  • Topic: Development, Globalization, Poverty
  • Author: Simon Appleton
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Absolute poverty lines are often derived from the cost of obtaining sufficient calories. Where staples vary across regions, such poverty lines may differ depending on whether they are set using national or regional food baskets. Regional poverty lines are open to the objection that they may be contaminated by income effects. This paper explores this issue by focussing on Uganda, a country where widening spatial inequalities in the 1990s have caused concern. Conflicting results from earlier studies have suggested that the spatial pattern of poverty in Uganda is very sensitive to whether national or regional food baskets are used in setting poverty lines. We confirm this suggestion by comparing the spatial profile of poverty in 1993 using national and regional poverty lines. However, since the regions consuming the more expensive staple sources of calories are also those with higher incomes, using simple regional poverty lines is problematic. Instead, a method of setting regional poverty lines is considered that adjusts for income differentials between regions. Even with this adjustment, the use of regional food baskets implies a markedly different.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: George Mavrotas
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper uses an aid disaggregation approach to examine the impact of different types of aid on the fiscal sector of the aid-recipient country. It uses time-series data on different types of aid (project aid, programme aid, technical assistance and food aid) for Uganda, an important aid recipient in recent years, to estimate a model of fiscal response in the presence of aid which combines aid disaggregation and endogenous aid. The empirical findings clearly suggest the importance of the above approach for delving deeper into aid effectiveness issues since different aid categories have different effects on key fiscal variables—an impact that could not be revealed if a single figure for aid was employed. More precisely, project aid and food aid appear to cause a reduction in public investment whereas programme aid and technical assistance are positively related to public investment. The same applies for government consumption. A negligible impact on government tax and non-tax revenues, and a strong displacement of government borrowing are also found.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Anthony Shorrocks, Stanislav Kolenikov
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper applies a new decomposition technique to the study of variations in poverty across the regions of Russia. The procedure, which is based on the Shapley value in cooperative game theory, allows the deviation in regional poverty levels from the all- Russia average to be attributed to three proximate sources; mean income per capita, inequality, and local prices. Contrary to expectation, regional poverty variations turn out to be due more to differences in inequality across regions than to differences in real income per capita. However, when real income per capita is split into nominal income and price components, differences in nominal incomes emerge as more important than either inequality or price effects for the majority of regions.
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Mark McGillivray
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper surveys recent research on aid and growth. It also provides an overview of research on inter-recipient aid allocation. The overall focus of the paper is on the relevance of these issues for poverty-efficient aid, defined as a pattern of inter-recipient aid allocation which maximises poverty reduction. It identifies a range of poverty- reducing criteria on which aid allocation or selectivity might be based, calling for a broader selectivity framework. The paper argues that this framework should be built on a recognition that the effectiveness of aid in increasing growth, and by implication in reducing poverty, is contingent on a range of factors in addition to the quality of recipient country policy regimes. These factors include political stability, democracy, post conflict reconstruction, and economic vulnerability.
  • Topic: Development, Political Economy, Poverty
  • Author: Luc Christiaensen, Lionel Demery, Stefano Paternostro
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This study traces the interactions between economic growth, income inequality and consumption poverty in a sample of African countries during the 1990s. It draws on the much-improved household data sets now available in the region. It finds that experiences have varied: some countries have seen sharp falls in income poverty; others have witnessed marked increases. Economic growth has been 'pro-poor' in that the incomes of poor households have typically grown at similar or faster rates than average income. But the aggregate numbers hide significant and systematic distributional effects which have caused some groups and regions to be left behind. The paper explores the contours of these effects, and draws three key conclusions. First, agricultural market liberalization has been conducive to reductions in rural poverty. Second, market connectedness is crucial for poor producers to take advantage of the opportunities offered by economic growth. Some regions and households by virtue of their sheer remoteness have been left behind when growth picks up. The availability of infrastructure (especially roads) and proximity to markets are crucial. And finally risks, such as rainfall variations and ill health are found to have profound effects on poverty outcomes, underscoring the significance of social protection in poverty reduction strategies in Africa.
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Ruslan Yemtsov
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyses regional data on inequality and poverty in Russia during 1994-2000 using published series from the regionally representative Household Budget Survey. The paper finds that the share of inequality in Russia coming from the between-regions component is large (close to a third of the total inequality), growing, and accounts for most of the increase in national inequality over 1994-2000. The paper demonstrates an absence of interregional convergence in incomes across Russian regions using various techniques. On the other hand, the paper finds evidence of convergence in inequality within regions, trended towards an internationally high level. Based on these two findings, the paper projects dynamics of inequality and poverty in Russia over a ten-year time horizon. The projections show that if the observed trend continues, by 2010 the absolute majority of Russia's poor will be concentrated in a few permanently impoverished regions, while relatively more affluent regions will become virtually free of poverty. Finally, the paper relates fluctuations in inequality within regions to a set of factors classified into four broad categories: endowments and initial conditions, preferences, policies, and shocks. Among these factors short-run fluctuations of the unemployment rate are revealed as significant and strong signals of inequality.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Michael Förster, David Jesuit, Timothy Smeeding
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper reports levels of income inequality and poverty in four Central and Eastern European countries: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Russia. Unlike many previous researchers who examine transition economies, we aggregate the detailed individual-level income surveys made available through the efforts of the Luxembourg Income Study at the regional level of analysis. Although national-level investigations have contributed much to our understanding of the income distribution dynamics, these studies mask intracountry variance in levels of income inequality and thus may not capture the true distribution of household income and accurately reflect individual wellbeing. Accordingly, we compute summary measures of inequality and relative poverty rates, using both local and national relative poverty lines, for the most recent waves of data available. We offer comparisons between regional and national median incomes and assess levels of inter- and intraregional income inequality. In addition, we make comparisons to regions within Western European countries and find that, contrary to what is often asserted, interregional disparities in Central and Eastern Europe countries are not as large as those found in some Western European countries.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Luxembourg
  • Author: Jed Friedman
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper uses six nationally representative household consumption surveys to develop successive poverty profiles for Indonesia over a fifteen-year period of sustained high growth followed by rapid contraction. Adopting a 'cost-of-basic-needs' approach to poverty determination (an approach particularly suited to measures of absolute poverty), this paper develops price indices and calculates poverty lines from unit value data, an oft neglected source of information. The summary findings confirm that Indonesia has witnessed broadbased gains in poverty reduction over the period 1984-96 and then a dramatic reversal during the recent financial crisis. These summary findings, however, mask substantial diversity in growth, inequality, and poverty change across Indonesian regions and so subsequent analysis focuses on the links between growth, inequality, and changes in poverty at the regional level. As opposed to previous studies of poverty change that have used short panels of cross-national data to identify the relationship between growth and poverty, this study employs a longer panel for a single country in order to investigate how poverty change at the provincial level varies with province growth rates and province changes in inequality (while controlling for time invariant province characteristics). The results indicate that poverty change is highly responsive to overall growth. However closer analysis reveals that regional differences in poverty levels persist even after controlling for the effects of provincial income levels, particularly for rural areas. These findings suggest that local factors play an important role in poverty determination and may interact with growth to impact poverty reduction in differing ways across Indonesia. Future investigations will need to take a more careful look at these local determinants of poverty change and attempt to identify the types of growth toward which poverty measures are particularly responsive.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Indonesia
  • Author: Maiju Perälä
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper extends the history of thought narrative on Allyn Young to recognize the close relationship that the classical growth theory has with the early development theory, as Young's externalities-fuelled, cumulative growth process influenced the theoretical thought of the early development theory pioneers, Paul Rosenstein-Rodan and Ragnar Nurkse. The conditions that prevent the development of underdeveloped regions, indivisibilities and inelasticities of supplies and demands, represent the breakdown of the conditions that Young highlights as necessary for self-sustaining growth to occur. Hence, Young's cumulative growth process underlies the view of these early development theorists, though their focus is on the malfunctioning and restarting of this process.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Poverty
  • Author: Maiju Perälä
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines growth successes and failures across countries and notes the latter's perplexing predominance among ex ante low-income economies. An explanation for this persistence of underdevelopment is proposed through an empirical investigation that brings forth evidence on the importance of natural resource endowment type on growth or, more appropriately, lack of it. The results show that, in the absence of social cohesion, the nature of natural resource abundance bears great significance as a natural resource endowment characterized by oil and/or mineral resources is more negatively correlated with growth than a resource endowment that is agricultural. The robustness of this result is tested across a number of growth regression specifications within the literature.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Author: Kræn Blume, Björn Gustafsson, Peder Pedersen, Mette Verner
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper focuses on the problems of low income among immigrants, analysed by using comparable panel datasets for two Scandinavian welfare states. After a brief survey of a few earlier studies on immigrant poverty, we present Denmark and Sweden as interesting cases for comparative research. Cyclical profiles have been very different since the 1980s and both countries have experienced considerable differences with regard to the number and composition of immigrants from the less developed countries. Poverty rates, analysed relative to different background factors, are fairly high, in particular when considering the welfare state background of Denmark and Sweden. A number of differences are found in spite of the institutional similarities between the two countries.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Political Economy, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Denmark, Sweden
  • Author: Andrés Solimano
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: At the turn of the twentieth century, a large number of Europeans, mostly from Italy and Spain, left their homelands and headed to the distant shores of Argentina in response to the good economic opportunities, fertile land and hopes for a better future that were to be found there. At the time, Argentina was one of the most vibrant world economies. Between 1870 and 1930, around seven million people migrated from Europe to Argentina, although nearly three million returned at some different point during those years. Also foreign capital responded to the opportunities offered by Argentina, and British financial institutions funded an important part of the construction of national infrastructure needed to support growth. In contrast, European migration to Argentina virtually stopped in the 1950s, and in the next 30 years or so the country become a net exporter of professionals who were fleeing economic decline, poor opportunities and authoritarian regimes. Moreover, during this period, financial capital steadily left Argentina looking for safer places. Nowadays, and in contrary to the flow of people a century ago, Argentineans are leaving in large numbers to Spain, Italy and other destinations. Emigration this time is associated with the collapse of the country's currency experiment of the 1990s which left a legacy of massive output decline, high unemployment, financial crisis and lost hopes.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, International Political Economy, Migration, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Europe, Argentina, Spain, Italy
  • Author: Tony Addison, Giovanni Andrea Cornia, Sampsa Kiiski
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the trends in within-country inequality during the post- World War II period, with particular attention to the last 20 years, on the basis of a review of the relevant literature and of an econometric analysis of inequality trends in 73 countries accounting for 80 per cent of the world's population and 91 per cent of world GDP-PPP. The paper suggests that the last two decades have been characterized by a surge in within-country inequality in about two-thirds of the developing, developed and transitional nations analysed. It also suggests that in those countries where the upsurge in inequality was sizeable or where inequality rose from already high levels, growth and poverty alleviation slowed down perceptibly. While this trend towards higher inequality differs substantially across countries in its extent, timing and specific causes, it marks a clear departure from that observed during the first 30 years of the post-World War II period during which, with the exception of Latin America and parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, a widespread move towards greater egalitarianism was noted in the majority of the socialist, developing and industrialized economies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Political Economy, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Kym Anderson
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper offers an economic assessment of the opportunities and challenges provided by the WTO's Doha Development Agenda, particularly through agricultural trade liberalization, for low-income countries seeking to trade their way out of poverty. After discussing links between poverty, economic growth and trade, it reports modelling results showing that farm product markets remain the most costly of all goods market distortions in world trade. It focuses on what such reform might mean for countries of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in particular, both without and with their involvement in the MTN reform process. What becomes clear is that if those countries want to maximize their benefits from the Doha round, they need also to free up their own domestic product and factor markets so their farmers are better able to take advantage of new market-opening opportunities abroad. Other concerns of low-income countries about farm trade reform also are addressed: whether there would be losses associated with tariff preference erosion, whether food-importing countries would suffer from higher food prices in international markets, whether China's WTO accession will provide an example of trade reform aggravating poverty via cuts to prices received by Chinese farmers, and the impact on food security and poverty alleviation. The paper concludes with lessons of relevance for low-income countries for their own domestic and trade policies.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Jeffrey Williamson, Timothy Hatton
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Governments in the OECD note rising immigration with alarm and grapple with policies aimed at selecting certain migrants and keeping out others. Economists appear to be well armed to advise governments since they are responsible for an impressive literature that examines the characteristics of individual immigrants, their absorption and the consequences of their migration on both sending and receiving regions. Economists are, however, much less well armed to speak to the determinants of the world migrations that give rise to public alarm.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Migration, Poverty
  • Author: Mark McGillivray
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Studies of the inter-recipient allocation of aid may be categorized threefold. First, there are those which attempt to explain the observed allocation of aid. Second, there are those which seek to describe or evaluate the allocation of aid against normative criteria. Third, there are those which seek to prescribe the inter-recipient allocation of aid by calculating the amounts of aid each country should receive, also based on normative criteria. This paper looks at the second and third categories of studies. It commences by looking at the different approaches or descriptive measures used, and then repeats this exercise for the prescriptive literature. It then compares the prescribed allocations of the different approaches used in the literature. These allocations are compared to actual allocations and then evaluated against various normative criteria. This reveals significant differences, both between prescribed and actual allocations and the evaluations of the different prescriptive approaches.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Non-Governmental Organization, Poverty
  • Author: Svetlana Glinkina, Dorothy Rosenberg
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We argue that the conflicts in the Caucasus are the result of the abrogation by the elite of the earlier, Soviet era, social contract. This process was accompanied by the collapse of the formal economy; evidenced by huge national income compression, falling public goods provision, and growing inequality and poverty. In the absence of state provision of basic amenities and governance, ordinary people are compelled to fall back on kinship ties. Declining standards of governance facilitate state-sponsored corruption and criminality in a setting where the shadow economic activity is increasingly important to individual survival strategies. Oil pipelines and the right to control the transit of goods both legal and illegal also underlie conflict in the region. Criminality has replaced ethnicity as the major motivation for conflict and conflict per se has become a lucrative source of income.
  • Topic: Economics, Ethnic Conflict, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: George Mavrotas, Roger Kelly
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper uses different measures of financial sector development for a dynamic heterogeneous panel of 17 African countries to examine the impact of financial sector development on private savings. An innovative econometric methodology is also employed related to a series of cointegration tests within a panel. This is an important contribution since traditional panel data analysis adopted in previous studies suffers from serious heterogeneity bias problems. The empirical results obtained vary considerably among countries in the panel, thus highlighting the importance of using different measures of financial sector development rather than a single indicator. The evidence is rather inconclusive, although in most of the countries in the sample a positive relationship between financial sector development and private savings seems to hold. The empirical analysis also suggests that a change in government savings is offset by an opposite change in private savings in most of the countries in the panel, thus confirming the Ricardian equivalence hypothesis. Liquidity constraints do not seem to play a vital role in most of the African countries in the group, since the relevant coefficient is negative and significant in only a small group of countries
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: George Mavrotas, Bazoumana Ouattara
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Building on recent work in the fiscal response literature, the present paper develops a new fiscal response model, which, for the first time in the relevant literature, combines the ideas of both endogenous and disaggregated aid. We endogenized aid on the grounds that the recipient government has some influence over aid disbursements. Regarding aid disaggregation, it is argued that each of the main four categories of aid, namely project aid, programme aid, technical assistance and food aid may exert different effects on the recipient economy. Furthermore, in case the preferences of the aid-recipient government are higher for some of these types of aid, neglecting aid disaggregation would lead to aggregation bias in the results and conclusions. The model adds an important new dimension to the vast aid effectiveness literature and calls for further modelling as well as empirical work in this promising research area so that significant policy implications can be derived.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Non-Governmental Organization, Poverty
  • Author: Stefan Dercon, Pramila Krishnan
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Households in developing countries use a variety of informal mechanisms to cope with risk, including mutual support and risk-sharing. These mechanisms cannot avoid that they remain vulnerable to shocks. Public programs in the form of food aid distribution and food-for-work programs are meant to protect vulnerable households from consumption and nutrition downturns by providing a safety net. In this paper we look into the extent to which food aid helps to smooth consumption by reducing the impact of negative shocks, taking into account informal risk-sharing arrangements. Using panel data from Ethiopia, we find that despite relatively poor targeting of the food aid, the programs contribute to better consumption outcomes, largely via intra-village risk sharing.
  • Topic: Development, Non-Governmental Organization, Poverty, Third World
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia