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What Can New Survey Data Tell Us about Recent Changes in Distribution and Poverty?

Опубликовано на портале: 01-12-2003
World Bank Economic Review. 1997.  Vol. 11. No. 2.
Is it true that the poor have lost ground, even as average living standards have risen? No. Poor people typically share in rising average living standards. It has been claimed that in recent times the poor have lost ground, both relatively and absolutely, even as average standards of living were rising. Ravallion and Chen test that claim, using more than 100 household surveys for more than 40 countries. Overall there was a small decrease in poverty incidence in 1987-93, though experiences differed across regions and countries. There was no general tendency for inequality or polarization to increase with growth. Distribution improves as often as it worsens in growing economies, and negative growth often appears to be highly detrimental to distribution. Poor people typically do share in rising average living standards. This holds in all regions.

It has been claimed that in recent times the poor have lost ground, both relatively and absolutely, even when average levels of living have risen. This article tests that claim using household surveys for 67 developing and transitional economies over 1981-94. It finds that changes in inequality and polarization were uncorrelated with changes in average living standards. Distribution improved as often as it worsened in growing economies, and negative growth was often more detrimental to distribution than positive growth. Overall, there was a small decrease in absolute poverty, although with diverse experiences across regions and countries. Almost always, poverty fell with growth in average living standards and rose with contraction.

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можно прочесть на сайте Мирового банка: http://econ.worldbank.org/files/13323_wps1694.pdf
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