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‣ A Vulnerability Approach to the Definition of the Middle Class

Lopez-Calva, Luis F.; Ortiz-Juarez, Eduardo
Fonte: Banco Mundial Publicador: Banco Mundial
Português
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Measurement of the middle class has recently come to the center of policy debate in middle-income countries as they search for the potential engines of growth and good governance. This debate assumes, first, that there is a meaningful definition of class, and second, that thresholds that define relatively homogeneous groups in terms of pre-determined sociological characteristics can be found empirically. This paper aims at proposing a view of the middle class based on vulnerability to poverty. Following this approach the paper exploits panel data to determine the amount of comparable income -- associated with a low probability of falling into poverty -- which could define the lower bound of the middle class. The paper looks at absolute thresholds, challenging the view that people above the poverty line are actually part of the middle class. The estimated lower threshold is used in cross-section surveys to quantify the size and the evolution of middle classes in Chile, Mexico, and Peru over the past two decades. The first relevant feature relates to the fact that the proposed thresholds lie around the 60th percentile of the distribution. The evidence also shows that the middle class has increased significantly in all three countries...

‣ Weakly Relative Poverty

Chen, Shaohua; Ravallion, Martin
Fonte: Banco Mundial Publicador: Banco Mundial
Português
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Prevailing measures of relative poverty put an implausibly high weight on relative deprivation, such that measured poverty does not fall when all incomes grow at the same rate. This stems from the (implicit) assumption in past measures that very poor people incur a negligible cost of social inclusion. That assumption is inconsistent with evidence on the social roles of certain private expenditures in poor settings and with data on national poverty lines. The authors propose a new schedule of "weakly relative" lines that relax this assumption and estimate the implied poverty measures for 116 developing countries. The authors find that there is more relative poverty than past estimates have suggested. In 2005, one half of the population of the developing world lived in relative poverty, half of whom were absolutely poor. The total number of relatively poor rose over 1981-2005, despite falling numbers of absolutely poor. With sustained economic growth, the incidence of relative poverty becomes less responsive to further growth. Slower progress against relative poverty can thus be seen as the "other side of the coin" to success against absolute poverty.

‣ Measuring Ancient Inequality

Milanovic, Branko; Lindert, Peter H.; Williamson, Jeffrey G.
Fonte: World Bank, Washington, DC Publicador: World Bank, Washington, DC
Português
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Is inequality largely the result of the Industrial Revolution? Or, were pre-industrial incomes and life expectancies as unequal as they are today? For want of sufficient data, these questions have not yet been answered. This paper infers inequality for 14 ancient, pre-industrial societies using what are known as social tables, stretching from the Roman Empire 14 AD, to Byzantium in 1000, to England in 1688, to Nueva España around 1790, to China in 1880 and to British India in 1947. It applies two new concepts in making those assessments - what the authors call the inequality possibility frontier and the inequality extraction ratio. Rather than simply offering measures of actual inequality, the authors compare the latter with the maximum feasible inequality (or surplus) that could have been extracted by the elite. The results, especially when compared with modern poor countries, give new insights in to the connection between inequality and economic development in the very long run.

‣ Romania : Poverty Monitoring Analytical and Advisory Assistance Program, First Phase Report, Fiscal Year 2007

World Bank
Fonte: Washington, DC Publicador: Washington, DC
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The objective of this report is to contribute towards institutional capacity building for regular monitoring and analysis of poverty, as well as other indicators of living conditions and social inclusion. This report analyzes the poverty trends and profile using the national absolute poverty line, which measures changes in the level of welfare and allows for a more straightforward interpretation of comparisons over time. Chapter 1 presents an overview of poverty dynamics using both relative and absolute measures of poverty, and explores the reasons for the observed difference in trends between the two measures. Chapter 2 investigates the relationship between economic growth, inequality and poverty in Romania during the period 1995 and 2006.

‣ Ukraine : Poverty Assessment, Poverty and Inequality in a Growing Economy

World Bank
Fonte: Washington, DC Publicador: Washington, DC
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28.105215%
This Poverty report is aimed at improving the understanding of poverty in Ukraine, and providing linkages between growth, the evolution of economic sectors, and poverty. The main findings can be summed up as follows: An absolute poverty line and a revised consumption aggregate -- jointly developed with Ukraine experts -- indicate that around 19 percent of the population lived in poverty by 2003. While in 1999 Ukraine had a poverty incidence higher than Poland, Russia, Lithuania, or Bulgaria, by 2003 it was the lowest compared with these countries. The overall improvement, however, has been paralleled by an increasing poverty gap between rural and urban households, reflecting the fast but unbalanced economic growth: The growth experience has not changed the rather stagnant level of employment. The improvement in labor markets are associated to gains in productivity and efficiency with resulting wage gains. There is also increased differentiation within workers since the fraction of underemployment has also increased, reflecting partly the subsistence agriculture, and precarious labor markets in some small towns. The combined effects of higher productivity but lower employment in commercial farms left real incomes in agriculture lagging behind other sectors. Rural areas had a slower reduction in poverty due to the combined effect of weather shocks...

‣ A Poverty-Inequality Trade-off?

Ravallion, Martin
Fonte: World Bank, Washington, DC Publicador: World Bank, Washington, DC
Português
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The idea that developing countries face a trade-off between poverty and inequality has had considerable influence on thinking about development policy. The experience of developing countries in the 1990s does not, however, reveal any sign of a systematic trade-off between measures of absolute poverty and relative inequality. Indeed, falling inequality tends to come with falling poverty incidence. And rising inequality appears more likely to be putting a brake on poverty reduction than to be facilitating it. However, there is evidence of a trade-off for absolute inequality, suggesting that those who want a lower absolute gap between the rich and the poor must in general be willing to see lower absolute levels of living for poor people.

‣ Non-Farm Diversification, Poverty, Economic Mobility and Income Inequality : A Case Study in Village India

Himanshu; Lanjouw, Peter; Murgai, Rinku; Stern, Nicholas
Fonte: World Bank, Washington, DC Publicador: World Bank, Washington, DC
Português
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This paper assembles data at the all-India level and for the village of Palanpur, Uttar Pradesh, to document the growing importance, and influence, of the non-farm sector in the rural economy between the early 1980s and late 2000s. The suggestion from the combined National Sample Survey and Palanpur data is of a slow process of non-farm diversification, whose distributional incidence, on the margin, is increasingly pro-poor. The village-level analysis documents that the non-farm sector is not only increasing incomes and reducing poverty, but appears as well to be breaking down long-standing barriers to mobility among the poorest segments of rural society. Efforts by the government of India to accelerate the process of diversification could thus yield significant returns in terms of declining poverty and increased income mobility. The evidence from Palanpur also shows, however, that at the village-level a significant increase in income inequality has accompanied diversification away from the farm. A growing literature argues that such a rise in inequality could affect the fabric of village society...

‣ When Is Growth Pro-Poor? Cross-Country Evidence

Kraay, Aart
Fonte: World Bank, Washington, D.C. Publicador: World Bank, Washington, D.C.
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Growth is pro-poor if the poverty measure of interest falls. According to this definition there are three potential sources of pro-poor growth: (1) a high rate of growth of average incomes; (2) a high sensitivity of poverty to growth in average incomes; and (3) a poverty-reducing pattern of growth in relative incomes. The author empirically decomposes changes in poverty in a large sample of developing countries during the 1980s and 1990s into these three components. In the medium to long run, most of the variation in changes in poverty can be attributed to growth in average incomes, suggesting that policies and institutions that promote broad-based growth should be central to the pro-poor growth agenda. Most of the remainder of the variation in poverty is due to poverty-reducing patterns of growth in relative incomes, rather than differences in the sensitivity of poverty to growth in average incomes. Cross-country evidence provides relatively little guidance as to the policies and institutions that promote these other sources of pro-poor growth.

‣ Growth Still Is Good for the Poor

Dollar, David; Kleineberg, Tatjana; Kraay, Aart
Fonte: World Bank, Washington, DC Publicador: World Bank, Washington, DC
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Incomes in the poorest two quintiles on average increase at the same rate as overall average incomes. This is because, in a global dataset spanning 118 countries over the past four decades, changes in the share of income of the poorest quintiles are generally small and uncorrelated with changes in average income. The variation in changes in quintile shares is also small relative to the variation in growth in average incomes, implying that the latter accounts for most of the variation in income growth in the poorest quintiles. These findings hold across most regions and time periods and when conditioning on a variety of country-level factors that may matter for growth and inequality changes. This evidence confirms the central importance of economic growth for poverty reduction and illustrates the difficulty of identifying specific macroeconomic policies that are significantly associated with the relative growth rates of those in the poorest quintiles.

‣ The Relative Income and Relative Deprivation Hypotheses : A Review of the Empirical Literature

Verme, Paolo
Fonte: World Bank, Washington, DC Publicador: World Bank, Washington, DC
Português
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The paper provides a review of the empirical literature in economics that has attempted to test the relative income hypothesis as put forward by Duesemberry (1949) and the relative deprivation hypothesis as formalized by Runciman (1966). It is argued that these two hypotheses and the empirical models used to test them are essentially similar and make use of the same relative income concept. The review covers the main intellectual contributions that led to the formulation and tests of these hypotheses, the main formulations of the utility and econometric equations used in empirical studies, the main econometric issues that complicate tests of the hypotheses, and the empirical results found in the literature. The majority of studies uses absolute and relative income together as explanatory factors in utility models and finds absolute income to have a positive and significant effect on utility (happiness). The majority of studies also finds relative income to be a significant factor in explaining utility but the sign of this relation varies across studies. The source of this variation is complex to detect given that few results are directly comparable across studies because of differences in model specifications.

‣ Can We Discern the Effect of Globalization on Income Distribution? Evidence from Household Surveys

Milanovic, Branko
Fonte: Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the World Bank Publicador: Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the World Bank
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Português
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New data derived directly from household surveys are used to examine the effects of globalization on income distribution in poor and rich countries. The article looks at the impact of openness and of direct foreign investment on relative income shares across the entire income distribution. It finds strong evidence that at low average income levels, the income share of the poor is smaller in countries that are more open to trade. As national income levels rise, the incomes of the poor and the middle class rise relative to the income of the rich. The article explains why using the trade to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio in purchasing power parity terms, as favored by some analysts, is inappropriate in studies of the effect of trade on income distribution.

‣ Hidden Impact? Ex-Post Evaluation of an Anti-Poverty Program

Chen, Shaohua; Ravallion, Martin
Fonte: World Bank, Washington, DC Publicador: World Bank, Washington, DC
Português
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By the widely used difference-in-difference method, the Southwest China Poverty Reduction Project had little impact on the proportion of people in beneficiary villages consuming less than $1 a day-despite a public outlay of $400 million. Is that right, or is the true impact being hidden somehow? The authors find that impact estimates are quite sensitive to the choice of outcome indicator, the poverty line, and the matching method. There are larger poverty impacts at lower poverty lines. And there are much larger impacts on incomes than consumptions. Uncertainty about the impact probably made it hard for participants to infer the gain in permanent income, so they saved a high proportion of the short-term gain.

‣ Growth, Inequality, and Social Welfare : Cross-Country Evidence

Dollar, David; Kleineberg, Tatjana; Kraay, Aart
Fonte: World Bank, Washington, DC Publicador: World Bank, Washington, DC
Português
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Social welfare functions that assign weights to individuals based on their income levels can be used to document the relative importance of growth and inequality changes for changes in social welfare. In a large panel of industrial and developing countries over the past 40 years, most of the cross-country and over-time variation in changes in social welfare is due to changes in average incomes. In contrast, the changes in inequality observed during this period are on average much smaller than changes in average incomes, are uncorrelated with changes in average incomes, and have contributed relatively little to changes in social welfare.

‣ Moldova Poverty Update

World Bank
Fonte: Washington, DC Publicador: Washington, DC
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Moldovan GDP growth rose and the poverty rate fell steeply following the end of the Russian financial crisis in 1999. Since late 2002, GDP has continued to grow vigorously, however there has been little progress in reducing poverty. In short, GDP growth is no longer reducing poverty. The national poverty rate is broadly stable while the rural poverty rate is on a modest upward trend. Analysis of data from the household budget surveys shows that the decline in the national poverty rate stopped at the end of 2002, and that the rate has been broadly stable since. The rural poverty rate has been on a modest upward trend; the increase in poverty is concentrated among farmers, and to a lesser extent, among rural pensioners. At the same time, real incomes rose among rural wage earners. Real incomes also rose among urban residents, and their poverty rate continued to decline, as they benefited from the expansion of the construction industry and from rising real wages in construction, manufacturing, and public service.

‣ Short-Lived Shocks with Long-Lived Impacts? Household Income Dynamics in a Transition Economy

Lokshin, Michael; Ravallion, Martin
Fonte: World Bank, Washington, DC Publicador: World Bank, Washington, DC
Português
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In theory, it is possible that the persistent poverty that has emerged in many transition economies, is attributable to underlying, non-convexities in the dynamics of household incomes - such that a vulnerable household will never recover from a sufficiently large, but short-lived shock to its income. This happens when there are multiple equilibria in household incomes, such that two households with the same characteristics, can have different incomes in the long run. To test the theory, the authors estimate a dynamic, panel data model of household incomes, with non-linear dynamics, and endogenous attrition. Their estimates, using data for Hungary in the 1990s, exhibit non-linearity in the income dynamics. The authors find no evidence of multiple equilibria. In general, households bounce back from transient shocks, although the process is not rapid.

‣ Bulgaria : A Changing Poverty Profile

World Bank
Fonte: Washington, DC Publicador: Washington, DC
Tipo: Publications & Research :: Publication; Publications & Research :: Publication
Português
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Bulgaria's economic progress in recent years has been notable. Since 1997, the country has implemented a range of structural reforms alongside substantive fiscal and sectoral reforms. Measures have included the introduction of a currency board to stabilize the lev and more aggressive privatization of large state owned enterprises. These developments have led to a significant turnaround from the period of economic crisis in 1996-1997, which was marked by a decline in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 18 percent and annual inflation of 579 percent in 1997. Growth resumed in 1998 and has been sustained. Bulgaria's current government, which took office in July 2001, has affirmed its commitment to the objectives of macrostability, including a continuation of the currency board and market reforms. Poverty in 2001 has become more concentrated among distinct and identifiable groups within the population than in previous years. In this regard, the profile of poverty in Bulgaria has come to resemble poverty patterns in other countries in Central and Eastern European countries more closely. The strong link between unemployment and poverty...

‣ The developing world's bulging (but vulnerable) "middle class"

Ravallion, Martin
Fonte: Banco Mundial Publicador: Banco Mundial
Tipo: Publications & Research :: Policy Research Working Paper
Português
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The "developing world's middle class" is defined here as those who are not poor when judged by the median poverty line of developing countries, but are still poor by US standards. The "Western middle class" is defined as those who are not poor by US standards. Although barely 80 million people in the developing world entered the Western middle class over 1990-2002, economic growth and distributional shifts allowed an extra 1.2 billion people to join the developing world's middle class. Four-fifths came from Asia, and half from China. Most of the new entrants remained fairly close to poverty, with incomes now bunched up just above $2 a day. The vulnerability of this new middle class to aggregate economic contractions is evident in the fact that one in six people in the developing world live between $2 and $3 per day. Over time, the developing world has become more sharply divided between countries with a large middle class and those with a relatively small one, with Africa prominent in the latter group. Poor people in countries with smaller middle classes may well be more exposed to slowing economic growth.

‣ Beyond Oaxaca-Blinder: Accounting for Differences in Household Income Distributions Across Countries

Bourguignon, Francois; Ferreira, Francisco H.G.; Leite, Phillippe G.
Fonte: World Bank, Washington, D.C. Publicador: World Bank, Washington, D.C.
Tipo: Publications & Research :: Policy Research Working Paper; Publications & Research
Português
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The authors develop a microeconometric method to account for differences across distributions of household income. Going beyond the determination of earnings in labor markets, they also estimate statistical models for occupational choice and for conditional distributions of education, fertility, and nonlabor incomes. The authors import combinations of estimated parameters from these models to simulate counterfactual income distributions. This allows them to decompose differences between functionals of two income distributions (such as inequality or poverty measures) into shares because of differences in the structure of labor market returns (price effects), differences in the occupational structure, and differences in the underlying distribution of assets (endowment effects). The authors apply the method to the differences between the Brazilian income distribution and those of Mexico and the United States, and find that most of Brazil's excess income inequality is due to underlying inequalities in the distribution of two key endowments: access to education and to sources of nonlabor income...

‣ China - From Poor Areas to Poor People : China’s Evolving Poverty Reduction Agenda - An Assessment of Poverty and Inequality in China

World Bank
Fonte: World Bank Publicador: World Bank
Tipo: Economic & Sector Work :: Poverty Assessment
Português
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China's progress in poverty reduction over the last 25 years is enviable. One cannot fail to be impressed by what this vast nation of 1.3 billion people has achieved in so little time. In terms of a wide range of indicators, the progress has been remarkable. Poverty in terms of income and consumption has been dramatically reduced. Progress has also been substantial in terms of human development indicators. Most of the millennium development goals have either already been achieved or the country is well on the way to achieving them. As a result of this progress, the country is now at a very different stage of development than it was at the dawn of the economic reforms at the beginning of the 1980s. China's poverty reduction performance has been even more striking. Between 1981 and 2004, the fraction of the population consuming below this poverty line fell from 65 percent to 10 percent, and the absolute number of poor fell from 652 million to 135 million, a decline of over half a billion people. The most rapid declines in poverty...

‣ China - From Poor Areas to Poor People : China's Evolving Poverty Reduction Agenda - An Assessment of Poverty and Inequality in China : Executive Summary

World Bank
Fonte: World Bank Publicador: World Bank
Tipo: Economic & Sector Work :: Poverty Assessment
Português
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28.15242%
China's progress in poverty reduction over the last 25 years is enviable. One cannot fail to be impressed by what this vast nation of 1.3 billion people has achieved in so little time. In terms of a wide range of indicators, the progress has been remarkable. Poverty in terms of income and consumption has been dramatically reduced. Progress has also been substantial in terms of human development indicators. Most of the millennium development goals have either already been achieved or the country is well on the way to achieving them. As a result of this progress, the country is now at a very different stage of development than it was at the dawn of the economic reforms at the beginning of the 1980s. China's poverty reduction performance has been even more striking. Between 1981 and 2004, the fraction of the population consuming below this poverty line fell from 65 percent to 10 percent, and the absolute number of poor fell from 652 million to 135 million, a decline of over half a billion people. The most rapid declines in poverty...