Sustainable Community Development and Rural Poverty in South China
Mississippi State University - Dept. of Finance and Economics
May 11, 2006
Sustainable development and poverty are conceptually related but the relationship between them has not been clarified. Are they complementary or competitive problems, or is there no relationship between them? If they are complementary problems, sustainable development leads to poverty. If they are competitive, humans can switch from poverty to a sustainable development path. This thesis explores whether sustainable development and poverty have a competitive relationship. Through careful choices, poverty can be reduced even as sustainable development objectives are achieved.
Sustainable development is defined here as the process of creating opportunity for humans to improve their well-being. Poverty is deprivation of such an opportunity. The relationship is examined by testing the hypothesis that positive (negative) indicators of sustainable development are negatively (positively) related to poverty.
Four regression models are set up and estimated to test the hypothesis. Poverty is measured by the poverty rate, poverty gap, share of thatched homes and income. These measures are regressed on eighteen sustainable development indicators, respectively. The coefficients of these models are estimated from a dataset of 4,074 poor villages of Guangxi in South China. The results reveal that poverty is the opposite state of sustainable development in terms of environmental, economic and social dimensions. The competitive relationship is confirmed.
The relationship between sustainable development and poverty implies that they share a common goal. Sustainable development can alleviate both present poverty and potential future poverty. However, some economic activities are found to reduce present poverty but undermine sustainable development. Policy must be carefully planned to avoid the shrinking of opportunity for both present and future generations.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 99working papers series
Date posted: April 1, 2010
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