This chapter compares the extent and the nature of the higher prevalence of poverty among disadvantaged ethnic groups in six Asian countries using demographic surveys. We first estimate a composite wealth index as a proxy for economic status, and analyze the magnitude of the ethnic gap in absolute and relative poverty levels across six countries and different ethnicities in those countries. Then, we use regression-based counterfactual analysis for explaining these ethnic differentials in poverty. We compare the actual differential in poverty with the gap that remains after disadvantaged ethnic groups are given the distribution of characteristics of the advantaged ethnic groups (by reweighting their densities using propensity scores). Our results show that there is a substantial cross-country variability in the extension, evolution, and nature of the ethnic poverty gap, which is as high as 50 percentage points or more in some specific cases in Nepal, Pakistan, or India. The gap in the latter country increased over the analyzed period, while it was reduced in the Philippines. Our analyses indicate that factors that contribute to ethnic disadvantaged groups being poorer are the strongly persistent high inequalities in education (for example, India, Nepal, and Pakistan), in regional development (for example, the Philippines) and the large urban–rural gap (for example, Pakistan).
Carlos Gradín, Olga Cantó and Coral del Río
In this chapter, we review the empirical literature on poverty over time that, since the end of the 1970s, has tried to find adequate answers to three main issues. The first is to provide an adequate measure of total inter-temporal poverty observed along a given time span in order to measure the relevance of chronic and transitory poverty. The second issue is to identify the main characteristics associated with each inter-temporal poverty type, its major determinants and consequences on individual well-being. Finally, a third key question is to identify which are the most effective policies in fighting against the poverty phenomenon by adequately focusing each alleviating policy on the individuals with a particular time poverty profile.