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Poverty, Inequality, and Growth in the Philippines.

Poverty, Growth, and Inequality in Thailand. Back Matter Pages About this book Introduction The theme of this book is that economic growth is key, but institutions and other national and subnational attributes matter as well.

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They are critical to explaining differences in social development and poverty reduction across countries and subnational areas that cannot be accounted for by growth alone. The book concludes that a more complete strategy needs to consider various institutional factors at the national and subnational levels to achieve rapid and sustained poverty reduction.

Indeed, paying attention to these factors will benefit both growth and poverty reduction. Asia development economic growth growth poverty Vietnam. Buy options. But for many other countries, especially in Asia, growth has been accompanied by rising inequality.

Infrastructure, Poverty Reduction and Jobs

It has been estimated that had rising inequality not accompanied high growth in developing Asia in the s and s, that growth would have lifted million more people out of poverty. Photo by Shreyans Bhansali. Even when inequality does not change with growth, its overall level can affect the relationship between growth and poverty reduction. It is well established that distribution-neutral growth starting at a higher level of inequality will reduce poverty by less.

Poverty, Growth, and Institutions in Developing Asia

In other words, the responsiveness of poverty reduction to growth is lower when initial inequality is higher. This is the second channel through which inequality connects growth and poverty reduction, even if inequality stays constant with growth.


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There is a third inequality channel through which growth and poverty reduction are connected, and which follows from those mentioned above. In fact it is a channel through which the impact of growth on poverty reduction can be overestimated. Standard national statistical sources usually do not, and cannot, produce information on intra-household inequality.

In effect, it is assumed that there is no inequality within households and that inequality between individuals is purely the result of inequality in household per capita income or consumption. But there is considerable corroborative evidence that resources within the household are themselves distributed unequally, for example between men and women.

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Poverty, Growth, and Institutions in Developing Asia

Thus standard income and expenditure distributions understate inequality. And for this reason they overstate the responsiveness of poverty reduction to growth, with the overstatement being greater the larger is the degree of intra-household inequality. These three channels can explain why poverty can persist as the result of inequality despite sustained economic growth. There is vigorous debate on whether rising inequality is a necessary condition for higher growth, or whether in fact higher inequality is causally linked to lower growth.

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There are good theoretical arguments on either side. A standard argument also bases itself on the empirical regularity which the share of savings out of income rises with income, so that greater inequality will raise the aggregate share of saving and thus make more resources available for investment. The counters to these arguments are more recent. One strand is based on the role of credit constraints in limiting the capacity of the less wealthy to invest, in their own human capital or in enterprises, together with a minimum size requirement for investment.

In this scenario it is intuitive that greater inequality will inhibit a greater number at the bottom from investing, and that this will impede growth. A second strand is oriented towards political economy. The simplest framework is one where greater inequality in income leads to a divergence between median and mean income. The median voter theorem in political economy would then suggest that policies would be chosen to raise median income, whereas those that raised mean income would be growth-enhancing by definition.

Another entry point is via the following sequence of arguments. All economies are hit by shocks. Economies that change policies to present the most efficient response to these shocks will show the greatest growth of total income. But if the policy response involves major losses as well as gains, the losers can block the efficient outcome unless redistribution provides adequate compensation.