Poverty and Inequality
The research program has two main objectives: (1) to improve current data as well as methods and tools for poverty and inequality analysis. This includes producing new household-level data (notably through the group’s Living Standards Measurement Study), monitoring poverty and inequality using household-level data, developing more reliable “poverty maps”, and rolling out computational tools such as ADePT and PovCalNet; (2) to use the improved data and existing data sources to better understand the economic and social processes determining the extent of poverty and inequality and to assess the effectiveness of specific policies in reducing poverty.
Research Manager: Peter Lanjouw
Learning by Doing: The Social Observatory
March 20, 2013
The Social Observatory in the World Bank's India office aims to connect the Bank’s research department with projects being implemented on the ground. It helps conduct rigorous impact evaluations, develop effective monitoring systems, and design relevant case studies and innovations such as the use of behavioral tools for project assessment and learning. More >>
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BOOKS AND REPORTS
Economic Mobility and the Rise of the Latin American Middle Class
After decades of stagnation, the size of Latin America's middle class recently expanded to the point where, for the first time ever, the number of people in poverty is equal to the size of the middle class. This volume investigates the nature, determinants and possible consequences of this remarkable process of social transformation. Order | Blog | Free download
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Measuring the Effect of a Community-level Program on Women's Empowerment Outcomes: Evidence from India
This paper uses primary data from rural north India to show that participation in a community-level female empowerment program significantly increases access to employment, physical mobility, and political participation. The program provides support groups, literacy camps, adult education classes, and vocational training for rural women in several states of India; the data are from Uttarakhand. The paper uses instrumental variables and truncation-corrected matching on primary data to disentangle the program's mechanisms, separately considering its effect on women who work, and those who do not work but whose reservation wage is increased by participation. The analysis also finds significant spillover effects on non-participants relative to women in untreated districts. It finds consistent estimates for average treatment and intent to treat effects.
Working Paper 6399, Apr. 2013
Weight Calculations for Panel Surveys with Sub-Sampling and Split-off Tracking
The Integrated Surveys on Agriculture project collects agricultural and livelihood data in seven countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. This paper is based on the panel weight calculations for the initial rounds of the Integrated Surveys on Agriculture surveys in Uganda and Tanzania, and describes the methodology used for calculating the weight components related to sub-sampling, tracking, and attrition, as well as the criteria used for trimming and post-stratification. It also addresses complications resulting from members previously classified as having attrited from the sample returning in later rounds.
Working Paper 6373, Feb. 2013
What Does Variation in Survey Design Reveal about the Nature of Measurement Errors in Household Consumption?
This paper uses data from eight different consumption questionnaires randomly assigned to 4,000 households in Tanzania to obtain evidence on the nature of measurement errors in estimates of household consumption.
Working Paper 6372, Feb. 2013
Vietnam’s Evolving Poverty Map: Patterns and Implications for Policy
This paper uses small area estimation techniques to update Vietnam's province and district-level poverty map to 2009. It finds that poverty rates continue to be highest in the northern and central mountainous regions, where ethnic minorities make up a large fraction of the population. Poverty has fallen in most provinces and districts over this decade, but the pace of poverty reduction has been least pronounced in those localities with high initial poverty or inequality levels. As a result, poverty rates have become more spatially concentrated over time, which is consistent with widely observed growth processes linked to agglomeration.
Working Paper 6355, Feb. 2013
How Long will it Take to Lift One Billion People out of Poverty?
Alternative scenarios are considered for reducing by one billion the number of people living below $1.25 a day. The low-case, "pessimistic," path to that goal would see the developing world outside China returning to its slower pace of growth and poverty reduction of the 1980s and 1990s, though with China maintaining its progress. This path would take another 50 years or more to lift one billion people out of poverty. The more optimistic path would maintain the (impressive) progress against poverty since 2000, which would instead reach the target by around 2025-30. This scenario is consistent with both linear projections of the time series data and non-linear simulations of inequality-neutral growth for the developing world as a whole.
Working Paper 6325, Jan. 2013
Inequality of Opportunity, Income Inequality and Economic Mobility: Some International Comparisons
This paper presents a comparison of ex-ante measures of inequality of economic opportunity (IEO) across 41 countries, and of the Human Opportunity Index (HOI) for 39 countries. It also examines international correlations between these indices and output per capita, income inequality, and intergenerational mobility. The analysis finds evidence of a "Kuznets curve" for inequality of opportunity, and finds that the IEO index is positively correlated with overall income inequality, and negatively with measures of intergenerational mobility, both in incomes and in years of schooling.
Working Paper 6304, Jan. 2013