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

41 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Martin Ravallion

Martin Ravallion

Georgetown University

Shaohua Chen

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

Date Written: December 1996

Abstract

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.

This paper - a product of the Poverty and Human Resources Division, Policy Research Department - is part of a larger effort in the department to monitor progress in reducing poverty in the world.

Suggested Citation

Ravallion, Martin and Chen, Shaohua, What Can New Survey Data Tell Us About Recent Changes in Distribution and Poverty? (December 1996). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 1694. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=636106

Martin Ravallion (Contact Author)

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

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

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