On the Unequal Inequality of Poor Communities

35 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Chris Elbers

Chris Elbers

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics; Tinbergen Institute - Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam (TIA)

Peter F. Lanjouw

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Johan A. Mistiaen

The World Bank

Berk Ozler

World Bank - Development Economics Research Group (DECRG)

Kenneth Simler

CGIAR - Food Consumption and Nutrition Division

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 5, 2004

Abstract

Important differences exist between communities with respect to their needs, capacities, and circumstances. As central governments are not able to discern these differences fully, they seek to achieve their policy objectives by relying on decentralized mechanisms that use local information. However, household and individual characteristics within communities can also vary substantially. A growing theoretical literature suggests that inequality within communities can influence policy outcomes, and that this influence could be harmful or helpful, depending on the circumstances. Empirical investigations into the impact of inequality have, to date, largely been held back by a lack of systematic evidence on community-level inequality. The authors use household survey and population census data to estimate per capita consumption inequality within communities in three developing countries: Ecuador, Madagascar, and Mozambique. Communities are found to vary markedly from one another in terms of the degree of inequality they exhibit. The authors also show that there should be no presumption that inequality is less severe in poor communities. They argue that the kind of community-level inequality estimates generated in this paper can be used in designing and evaluating decentralized antipoverty programs.

This paper - a product of the Poverty Team, Development Research Group - is part of a larger effort in the group to develop tools for the analysis of poverty and income distribution.

Suggested Citation

Elbers, Chris and Lanjouw, Peter F. and Mistiaen, Johan A. and Ozler, Berk and Simler, Kenneth, On the Unequal Inequality of Poor Communities (February 5, 2004). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 3313. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=610358

Chris Elbers (Contact Author)

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081HV
Netherlands

Tinbergen Institute - Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam (TIA) ( email )

Gustav Mahlerplein 117
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Netherlands

Peter F. Lanjouw

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
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HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/planjouw

Johan A. Mistiaen

The World Bank ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
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Washington, DC 20433
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202-473-5866 (Phone)
202-522-1153 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/jmistiaen

Berk Ozler

World Bank - Development Economics Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/bozler

Kenneth Simler

CGIAR - Food Consumption and Nutrition Division ( email )

Washington, DC 20006-1002
United States

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