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  • Author: Tony Addison, Jukka Pirttilä, Finn Tarp
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: When measured in relative terms, global inequality has been decreasing. However, in absolute terms it has been increasing. What does this mean for analysing and addressing inequality? While it remains vital to continue reducing the global incidence of poverty, inequality has risen both in international and national agendas. Inequalities — in incomes, assets, and human development — matter for citizens as ethical and political issues. Large inequalities matter for economic development as they and can slow economic growth, generate economic crises, and destabilize political systems.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Inequality, Economic Growth
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sam Hickey, Tom Laver, Miguel Niño-Zarazúa, Jeremy Seekings
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Since the mid-1990s, there has been in Africa something of a ‘quiet revolution’ in poverty reduction strategies with the proliferation of social assistance programmes that entail cash transfers to the poor. The past two decades have also been characterized by a series of important political developments that have reshaped both state–society relations within sub-Saharan Africa and its relationship with transnational actors. What lies behind these changes?​​​
  • Topic: Development, International Organization, Poverty, Social Services
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa, East Africa
  • Author: Hoang Xuan Diem, Tran Van Hoang
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: For years, the international development community has been considering poverty as a multidimensional phenomenon, which takes into account not only income or consumption of the poor, but also their access to basic needs (education, health, etc.) and resources (credit, social network, etc.). In Vietnam, since 2016, the Government has adopted the multidimensional approach to thoroughly measure poverty. This paper is an attempt to assess the state and evolution of multidimensional poverty in the rural areas of Vietnam, using data from the Vietnam Access to Resources Household Survey 2008–16. Results show remarkable improvement of the living conditions in the rural areas, with a greater pace shown among the ethnic minority groups. However, there need to be more efforts to reduce the gap in poverty headcount ratios among Kinh and non-Kinh groups, households with male and female heads, and among households in different provinces. Some of the main suggestions to reduce multidimensional poverty in Vietnam is to increase households’ access to health care services, education, clean water and hygienic latrines, and to improve the presence of such service providers near the households’ locations.
  • Topic: Poverty, Minorities, Rural, Survey
  • Political Geography: Vietnam, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Shi Li, Terry Sicular
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In the late 1970s, China embarked on a major programme of economic transition and reform. Since then, China’s economy has been transformed from a socialist planned economy to a predominately market economy characterized by a combination of state, private, and mixed forms of ownership. Over the past forty years, household incomes have risen six-fold, poverty has declined dramatically, and in recent years a new class of ultra-rich has emerged. These developments have naturally led to questions about inequality trends in China.
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty, Reform, Income Inequality, Welfare
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Mathilde Maîtrot, Miguel Niño-Zarazúa
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Over the last 35 years, microfinance has been generally regarded as an effective policy tool in the fight against poverty. Yet, the question of whether access to credit leads to poverty reduction and improved wellbeing remains open. To address this question, we conduct a systematic review of the quantitative literature of microfinance’s impacts in the developing world, and develop a theory of change that links inputs to impacts on several welfare outcomes. Overall, we find that the limited comparability of outcomes and the heterogeneity of microfinance-lending technologies, together with a considerable variation in socio-economic conditions and contexts in which impact studies have been conducted, render the interpretation and generalization of findings intricate. Our results indicate that, at best, microfinance induces short-term dynamism in the financial life of the poor; however, we do not find compelling evidence that this dynamism leads to increases in income, consumption, human capital and assets, and, ultimately, a reduction in poverty.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Developing World, Finance, Microeconomics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Joseph Deutsch, Jacques Silber
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In developing countries, women’s decisions concerning their children’s health depend on ‘empowerment’ concerning decision-making, husband/partner’s use of violence, woman’s attitude towards this violence, available information, and resources. We derive an empowerment indicator using the ‘fuzzy sets’ and Alkire and Foster approaches to multidimensional poverty measurement. The health of children is a latent variable; their height and weight are observed health indicators. We apply the ‘MIMIC’ approach to the 2009 Mozambique Demographic and Health Survey. Children’s health is better when the woman opposes her partner’s violence, the higher her education and body mass index, among female children, and in urban areas.
  • Topic: Demographics, Health, Poverty, Children, Women, Empowerment
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique
  • Author: Ricardo Santos, Vincenzo Salvucci
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Poverty is a multidimensional phenomenon involving things other than consumption — such as access to and quality of health and education, housing, possession of durable goods, freedom, and many other factors. The consumption and multidimensional poverty approaches are complementary: it is possible for example that a family has consumption levels below the poverty line but lives in a good quality home, its members have a good level of education, and vice versa.
  • Topic: Education, Health, Poverty, Survey, Housing
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique
  • Author: Augustin K. Fosu
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: What can the less well-off developing countries learn from the “successes” of other developing countries? This Policy Brief highlights successful development strategies and lessons from in-depth case studies of select countries from the developing world. The coverage includes East Asia and the Pacific, the emerging Asian giants, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa, along with respective regional syntheses. Although countries' experiences are not necessarily replicable, the recurrent themes across countries and regions provide the appropriate connectedness for a comprehensive global perspective on development strategies and lessons.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Israel, Latin America
  • Author: Augustin Kwasi Fosu
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The study presents recent global evidence on the transformation of economic growth to poverty reduction in developing countries, with emphasis on the role of income inequality. The focus is on the period since the early/mid-1990s when growth in these countries as a group has been relatively strong, surpassing that of the advanced economies. Both regional and country-specific data are analysed for the US$1.25 andUS$2.50 level poverty headcount ratios using the most recent World Bank data. The study finds that on average income growth has been the major driving force behind both the declines and increases in poverty. The study, however, documents substantial regional and country differences that are masked by this 'average' dominant growth story. While in the majority of countries growth was the major factor behind falling...
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty, Third World
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Peter Warr
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Thailand's development strategy has been strongly market-oriented and open to trade and investment flows with the rest of the world. Since the late 1950s, its growth performance has been outstanding. Poverty incidence has declined dramatically, but economic inequality has increased. Economic progress has been reflected in very significant improvement in non-economic indicators of well-being such as life expectancy, infant and maternal morality, and literacy. Nevertheless, the performance of the education system is chronically poor. Environmental problems and institutional failures in resource management are ongoing. Reform is needed in several areas, including political and corporate governance, regulation of industry, and in the education and health systems.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Emerging Markets, Poverty, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Samuel Kobina Annim
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the combined effect of interest rates and poverty levels of microfinance clients on loan size. Cross section data on 2,691 clients and non-clients households from Ghana is used to test the hypothesis of loan price inelasticity. Quantile regression and variants of least squares methods that explore endogeneity are employed. We find the expected inverse relationship only for the 20th to 40th quantile range. The semi-elasticity of loan amount responsiveness to a unit change in interest rate is more than proportionate and significant for the poorest group only. Market segmentation based on poverty level is suggested in targeting and sustaining microfinance clients.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Ravi Kanbur, Dennis Rodgers, Jo Beall
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper argues for a more systemic engagement with Latin American cities, contending it is necessary to reconsider their unity in order to nuance the 'fractured cities' perspective that has widely come to epitomise the contemporary urban moment in the region. It begins by offering an overview of regional urban development trends, before exploring how the underlying imaginary of the city has critically shifted over the past half century. Focusing in particular on the way that slums and shantytowns have been conceived, it traces how the predominant conception of the Latin American city moved from a notion of unity to a perception of fragmentation, highlighting how this had critically negative ramifications for urban development agendas, and concludes with a call for a renewed vision of Latin American urban life.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Urbanization
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Flavio Janches
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This article surveys the problem of urban marginalization by one of its more critical expressions in the contemporary city: the slums. The aim is to define an urban design strategy for the integration of those settlements as part of the city context, which enables to find solutions for the conflict improving these communities quality of life.
  • Topic: Poverty, Sociology, Urbanization
  • Author: Lucy Earle
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This study focuses on the city of São Paulo, Brazil and examines the ways in which irregular and illegal growth have influenced the collective action of social movements of the urban poor. The study describes how São Paulo grew as a socially segregated city during the twentieth century due to calculated neglect on the part of the municipal authorities. Highlighting the city's sociospatial inequality, degradation of the central districts and widespread irregularity, it illustrates how these factors have both negatively affected the urban poor and provided a catalyst for social mobilization.
  • Topic: Poverty, Social Stratification, Social Movement, Urbanization
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Channing Arndt, M. Azhar Hussain, E. Samuel Jones, Virgulino Nhate, Finn Tarp1, James Thurlow
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Measuring poverty remains a complex and contentious issue. This is particularly true in sub-Saharan Africa where poverty rates are higher, information bases typically weaker, and the underlying determinants of welfare relatively volatile. This paper employs recently collected data on household consumption in Mozambique to examine the evolution of consumption poverty with focus on the period 2002/03 to 2008/09. The paper contributes in four areas. First, the period in question was characterized by major movements in international commodity prices. Mozambique provides an illuminating case study of the implications of these world commodity price changes for living standards of poor people. Second, a novel 'backcasting' approach using a computable general equilibrium model of Mozambique, linked to a poverty module.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa