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  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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