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Poverty and Inequality Data

The Bank is the leading producer of data on poverty and inequality in the developing and transition economies. These data range from household survey data to compilations of summary statistics drawn from these data.

The DECRG Poverty Group has a central role in this work, as the institutional home of both the Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) and its Global Poverty and Inequality Database (GPID).


Living Standards Measurement Study - Household Surveys (LSMS)
Household surveys produced under the Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) have been used to measure poverty in individual countries and to study the linkages between poverty and human capital, access and use of public services and earning activities, amongst other things. The value added of the LSMS surveys is that they allow researchers to link welfare indictors with a wide range of other economic and social indicators. The LSMS has also become a model for many “non-LSMS” surveys.

Global Poverty and Inequality Database (GPID)
The GPID is the sole source of the Bank’s global poverty estimates including the widely cited estimates of the number of people living below $1 and $2 per day. GPID is also the principal source for recent cross-country compilations of inequality data. The estimates of poverty and inequality measures made by DECRG staff from GPID feed into the World Development Indicators, various World Development Reports, PREM’s reports to the Board on Progress in Poverty Reduction and the Global Economic Prospects Reports. The underlying country-level data set is also used as the source of poverty and inequality measures for research and other purposes inside and outside the Bank.

This component of the Research Program aims to assure that the Bank’s data and tools for these purposes remain the best available. There are four sub-components:

1. Data Comparability and Accessibility
One subcomponent addresses the key issue of data comparability and accessibility by re-building from scratch a set of consumption and income distributions for developing and transition economies as well as other social sector outcome indicators that will be more comparable than ever before. This will be done in the form of a user-friendly interactive data base that will greatly enhance accessibility to the micro data. For further details, see the sub-topic, "Comparative Living Standards Project (CLSP)."

2. Poverty Measurement
The second subcomponent focuses on poverty measurement using such data. One aim will be to bring consumption and income measures into better alignment. Another will be to explore new approaches to poverty measurement in which considerations of relative poverty and subjective well-being are brought into the analysis explicitly.

3. Linking Existing Data Sources
The third subcomponent expands the poverty data available by showing how existing data sources can be linked. Amongst other applications, this will allow the construction of much more detailed poverty maps than have previosuly been possible.

4. Using New Data and Methodological Tools
The final subcomponent takes advantage of the new data generated from the preceding subcomponents as well as new methodological tools to advance our knowledge of policy and program impacts on poverty and inequality.


The Policy Research Working Papers below (1993-2013) are drawn from the World Bank's institutional archives. You can search the working paper collection here using the author's last name, title, or working paper number ("wpsxxxx").

You can also download other related documents. These include content-rich current outputs (updated document versions, miscellaneous documents, and web pages).

WPS6446Conducting ethical economic research: complications from the fieldAlderman, Harold; Das, Jishnu; Rao, Vijayendra2013/05
WPS6259Global income inequality by the numbers : in history and now --an overview--Milanovic, Branko2012/11
WPS5878Average and marginal returns to upper secondary schooling in IndonesiaCarneiro, Pedro; Lokshin, Michael; Ridao-Cano, Cristobal; Umapathi, Nithin2011/11
WPS5873The measurement of educational inequality : achievement and opportunityFerreira, Francisco H. G.; Gignoux, Jeremie2011/11
WPS5812Family planning and fertility : estimating program effects using cross-sectional dataPortner, Claus C ; Beegle, Kathleen; Christiaensen, Luc2011/09
WPS5414Explaining variation in child labor statisticsDillon, Andrew; Bardasi, Elena; Beegle, Kathleen; Serneels, Pieter2010/09
WPS5405Economic freedom, human rights, and the returns to human capital : an evaluation of the Schultz hypothesisKing, Elizabeth M.; Montenegro, Claudio E.; Orazem, Peter F.2010/08
WPS5337Revisiting between-group inequality measurement : an application to the dynamics of caste inequality in two Indian villagesLanjouw, Peter; Rao, Vijayendra2010/06
WPS5284Poverty lines across the worldRavallion, Martin2010/04
WPS5145Four critiques of the redistribution hypothesis : an assessmentMilanovic, Branko2009/12
WPS5080A comparative perspective on poverty reduction in Brazil, China and IndiaRavallion, Martin2009/10
WPS5069The pattern of growth and poverty reduction in ChinaMontalvo, Jose G.; Ravallion, Martin2009/10
WPS5061Global inequality recalculated : the effect of new 2005 PPP estimates on global inequalityMilanovic, Branko2009/09
WPS4924Dignity through discourse : poverty and the culture of deliberation in Indian village democraciesRao, Vijayendra; Sanyal, Paromita2009/05
WPS4928Is deliberation equitable ? evidence from transcripts of village meetings in south IndiaBan, Radu; Rao, Vijayendra2009/05
WPS4900International migration and gender differentials in the home labor market : evidence from AlbaniaMendola, Mariapia; Carletto, Gero2009/04
WPS4889Orphanhood and the living arrangements of children in sub-saharan AfricaBeegle, Kathleen; Filmer, Deon; Stokes, Andrew; Tiererova, Lucia2009/03
WPS4858Poverty decline, agricultural wages, and non-farm employment in rural India : 1983-2004Lanjouw, Peter; Murgai, Rinku2009/03
WPS4844Weakly relative povertyRavallion, Martin; Chen, Shaohua2009/02
WPS4813Month of birth and children's health in IndiaLokshin, Michael; Radyakin, Sergiy2009/01
WPS4816The developing world's bulging (but vulnerable) "middle class"Ravallion, Martin2009/01
WPS4701Aggregate economic shocks, child schooling and child healthFerreira, Francisco H. G.; Schady, Norbert2008/08
WPS4659The measurement of inequality of opportunity : theory and an application to Latin AmericaFerreira , Francisco H. G.; Gignoux, Jeremie2008/07
WPS4621China is poorer than we thought, but no less successful in the fight against povertyChen, Shaohua; Ravallion, Martin2008/05
WPS4623Global poverty and inequality : a review of the evidenceFerreira, Francisco H.G.; Ravallion, Martin2008/05
WPS4424Improving nutritional status through behavioral change : lessons from MadagascarGalasso, Emanuela; Umapathi, Nithin2007/12
WPS4431Poverty reduction without economic growth ? explaining Brazil's poverty dynamics, 1985-2004Ferreira, Francisco H. G.; Leite, Phillippe G.; Ravallion, Martin2007/12
WPS4385How relevant is targeting to the success of an antipoverty program ?Ravallion, Martin2007/11
WPS4412Measuring ancient inequalityMilanovic,Branko; Lindert, Peter H.; Williamson, Jeffrey G.2007/11
WPS4386Psychological health before, during, and after an economic crisis : results from Indonesia, 1993 - 2000Friedman, Jed; Thomas, Duncan2007/11
WPS4228Poverty, social divisions, and conflict in NepalDo, Quy-Toan; Iyer, Lakshmi2007/05
WPS4211Absolute poverty measures for the developing world, 1981-2004Chen, Shaohua; Ravallion, Martin2007/04
WPS4217Measuring welfare gains from better quality infrastructureKlytchnikova, Irina; Lokshin, Michael2007/04
WPS4199New evidence on the urbanization of global povertyRavallion, Martin; Chen, Shaohua; Sangraula, Prem2007/04
WPS4139Adult mortality and children's transition into marriageBeegle, Kathleen; Krutikova, Sofya2007/02
WPS4125Incentives, supervision, and sharecropper productivityJacoby, Hanan G.; Mansuri, Ghazala2007/02
WPS4126Watta satta : bride exchange and women's welfare in rural PakistanJacoby, Hanan G.; Mansuri, Ghazala2007/02
WPS4108Trade liberalization, employment flows, and wage inequality in BrazilFerreira, Francisco H. G.; Leite, Phillippe G.; Wai-Poi, Matthew2007/01
WPS4085The economics of consanguineous marriagesDo, Quy-Toan; Iyer, Sriya; Joshi, Shareen2006/12
WPS4018Forgone earnings from smoking : evidence for a developing countryLokshin, Michael; Beegle, Kathleen2006/10
WPS3997Local inequality and project choice : theory and evidence from EcuadorAraujo, M. Caridad; Ferreira, Francisco H.G.; Lanjouw, Peter; Ozler, Berk2006/08
WPS3865Global income inequality : what it is and why it mattersMilanovic, Branko2006/03
WPS3867The rise and fall of Brazilian inequality, 1981-2004Ferreira, Francisco H. G.; Leite, Phillippe G.; Litchfield, Julie A.2006/03
WPS3836Trade, inequality, and the political economy of institutionsDo, Quy-Toan; Levchenko, Andrei A.2006/02
WPS3816Inequality of opportunity and economic developmentFerreira, Francisco H. G.; Walton, Michael2006/01
WPS3699Half a world : regional inequality in five great federationsMilanovic, Branko2005/09
WPS3677Inequality is bad for the poorRavallion, Martin2005/08
WPS3687Re-interpreting sub-group inequality decompositionsElbers, Chris; Lanjouw, Peter; Mistiaen, Johan A.; Ozler, Berk2005/08
WPS3640Is a guaranteed living wage a good anti-poverty policy?Murgai, Rinku; Ravallion, Martin2005/06
WPS3579A poverty-inequality trade-off?Ravallion, Martin2005/04
WPS3571Does tariff liberalization increase wage inequality ? - Some empirical evidenceMilanovic, Branko; Squire, Lyn2005/04
WPS3341How Have the World's Poorest Fared Since the Early 1980s?Chen, Shaohua; Ravallion, Martin2004/06
WPS2846Is India's economic growth leaving the poor behind?Datt, Gaurav; Ravallion, Martin2002/05
WPS2828Beyond Oaxaca-Blinder : accounting for differences in household income distributions across countriesBourguignon, Francois; Ferreira, Francisco H. G.2002/04
WPS2672Do workfare participants recover quickly from retrenchment?Ravallion, Martin; Galasso, Emanuela; Lazo, Teodoro; Philipp, Ernesto2001/09
WPS2665Measuring aggregate welfare in developing countries - How well do national accounts and surveys agree?Ravallion, Martin2001/08
WPS2409How did the world's poorest fare in the 1990s ?Shaohua Chen; Ravallion, Martin2000/08
WPS2342What can we learn about country performance from conditional comparisons across countries?Ravallion, Martin2000/05
WPS2210The slippery slope : explaining the increase in extreme poverty in urban Brazil, 1976-96Ferreira, Francisco H. G.; Paes de Barrios, Ricardo1999/10
WPS2106Subjective economic welfareRavallion, Martin; Lokshin, Michael1999/04
WPS2080Monitoring targeting performance when decentralized allocation to the poor are unobservedRavallion1999/03
WPS1902When economic reform is faster than statistical reform - measuring and explaining inequality in rural ChinaRavallion, Martin; Shaohua Chen1998/03
WPS1694What can new survey data tell us about recent changes in distribution and poverty?Ravallion, Martin; Shaohua Chen1996/12
WPS1487Decomposing social indicators using distributional dataBidani, Benu; Ravallion, Martin1995/07
WPS1146Is poverty increasing in the developing world?Shaohua Chen; Datt, Gaurav; Ravallion, Martin1993/06

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