How Did the World's Poorest Fare in the 1990s?

30 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Shaohua Chen

Shaohua Chen

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

Martin Ravallion

Georgetown University

Date Written: August 2000

Abstract

Between 1987 and 1998, the incidence of poverty fell in Asia and the Middle East and North Africa, changed little in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, and rose in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Too little economic growth in the poorest countries and persistent inequalities (in income and other measures) are the main reasons for the disappointing rate of poverty reduction.

Drawing on data from 265 national sample surveys spanning 83 countries, Chen and Ravallion find that there was a net decrease in the total incidence of consumption poverty between 1987 and 1998. But it was not enough to reduce the total number of poor people, by various definitions. The incidence of poverty fell in Asia and the Middle East and North Africa, changed little in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, and rose in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The two main proximate causes of the disappointing rate of poverty reduction: Too little economic growth in many of the poorest countries, and persistent inequalities (in both income and other essential measures) that kept the poor from participating in the growth that did occur.

This paper - a product of Poverty and Human Resources, Development Research Group - is part of a larger effort in the group to monitor progress against poverty in the developing world.

Suggested Citation

Chen, Shaohua and Ravallion, Martin, How Did the World's Poorest Fare in the 1990s? (August 2000). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 2409. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=630781

Shaohua Chen

World Bank ( email )

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

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Martin Ravallion (Contact Author)

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

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