Chapter 2: Poverty Transitions, Shocks and Consumption in Rural Bangladesh, 1996–97 to 2006–07
Agnes R. Quisumbing INTRODUCTION What factors contribute to sustainable poverty reduction? This question interests researchers and policymakers alike, particularly in Bangladesh, which has posted a marked reduction in poverty incidence in the past decade. Comparisons of national household surveys between 1995–96 and 2005, when consistent poverty estimation methodologies were used, showed that the poverty headcount declined by about 2 per cent between 1995–96 and 2000, but by nearly 9 percentage points in the first half of the 2000s (Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), 2006).1 More importantly, there have been substantial improvements in the livelihoods of the poorest during the period 2000–05, as the decline in the incidence of extreme poverty, the poverty gap, and the squared poverty gap reveals. These improvements are likely to be the impact of relatively high economic growth in recent years.2 Nevertheless, poverty remains a key challenge in Bangladesh as the overall incidence of poverty persists at a high level. The most startling consequence of widespread poverty is that a quarter (25.5 per cent) of the country’s population – 36 million people – cannot afford an adequate diet, according to the 2005 estimates of food poverty or extreme poverty (BBS, 2006). In order to design appropriate anti-poverty interventions, researchers and policymakers alike need to understand the factors that enable some households and communities to move out of poverty, while others remain trapped in it. While nationally representative data sets like the Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) provide snap-shots at the country-wide level, longitudinal...
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