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Jacques Silber and Guanghua Wan

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The Asian ‘Poverty Miracle’

Impressive Accomplishments or Incomplete Achievements?

Edited by Jacques Silber and Guanghua Wan

Following rapid economic growth in recent decades, Asia and the Pacific experienced an impressive reduction in extreme poverty, but this drop was not uniform and achievements are still incomplete. Vulnerability to natural disasters, the increasing impact of climate change and economic crises should all be taken into account. There is also a need to consider the multidimensional nature of poverty and the non-uniformity of the decrease across different ethnic groups. This book explores the Asian ‘poverty miracle’ and argues for the development and use of an Asia-specific poverty line.
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Ricardo Mora and Jacques Silber

This chapter attempts to review the empirical literature covering various aspects of segregation: residential segregation by race or income, occupational segregation by gender and race, and ethnic group and school segregation. Given the huge number of studies covering these different facets of segregation, this chapter presents a more detailed survey of school than of occupational or residential segregation, and its main focus is on the United States, although findings concerning occupational or residential segregation in other parts of the world are also mentioned. Special attention is given to two topics: the difficulty of evaluating the impact of school desegregation policies, and the specificity of residential segregation measurement which requires the use of spatial indices.

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Satya R. Chakravarty, Nachiketa Chattopadhyay and Jacques Silber

This chapter estimates the number of poor in various countries in Asia by applying an ‘amalgam poverty line’, which is a weighted average of an absolute poverty line (such as $1.25 per day or $1.45 per day) and a reference income (such as the mean or the median income). The number of poor is computed under various values of the weight applied to the absolute poverty line, namely 100 percent, 90 percent, 66 percent and 50 percent. The chapter provides estimates of the headcount ratio and poverty gap ratio under the various scenarios for 25 different countries or regions examined.

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Satya R. Chakravarty, Nachiketa Chattopadhyay, Jacques Silber and Guanghua Wan

Given a poverty line, a person who is non-poor (poor) currently may not be treated as non-poor (poor) in a vulnerable situation. This chapter looks at the impact of vulnerability on the poverty line. The poverty line is adjusted in the presence of vulnerability such that the utility of a person at the current poverty line and that at the adjusted poverty line become identical. Using an additive model of vulnerability, it is shown that if the utility function obeys constant Arrow–Pratt absolute risk aversion, then the harmonized poverty line is a simple absolute augmentation of the current poverty line. On the other hand, under a multiplicative model of vulnerability with constant Arrow–Pratt relative risk aversion, the revised poverty line is a simple relative augmentation of the current poverty line. The chapter contains empirical illustrations which assume that constant relative risk aversion applies to countries involved in the Asia-Pacific region. Upward adjustment of the poverty line under increased vulnerability, as captured through the value of the risk aversion parameter, is also observed.