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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 are drawn from the World Bank's institutional archives. Each link opens a page with an abstract of the document and several download options. Choose the 'light-weight documents' option for easy download.

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

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