Why Poverty Persists
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Why Poverty Persists

Poverty Dynamics in Asia and Africa

Edited by Bob Baulch

This edited book analyses what traps people in chronic poverty, and what allows them to escape from it, using long-term panel surveys from six Asian and African countries. The distinguishing feature of these studies, which were commissioned by the Chronic Poverty Research Centre, is they span longer periods or have more survey waves than most developing country panels. This allows a detailed account of the maintainers of chronic poverty and drivers of poverty dynamics. Many of the studies (from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa and Vietnam) are written by leading development economists, and all pay careful attention to the difficult issues of attrition, measurement error and tracking. The book’s comparative perspective highlights the common factors which cause people to fall into chronic poverty and allow them to break-free from it. A number of promising policies and interventions for reducing chronic poverty are identified.
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Chapter 1: Overview: Poverty Dynamics and Persistence in Asia and Africa

Bob Baulch


Bob Baulch INTRODUCTION A decade ago, around the time the Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC) was conceived, I co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Development Studies with John Hoddinott entitled ‘Poverty dynamics and economic mobility in developing countries’ (Baulch and Hoddinott, 2000). This issue, which subsequently became a book, contained a collection of six studies on poverty dynamics drawn from the (then) very limited pool of household (longitudinal) panels in developing countries. Since then, the number of panels available in developing and transition economies has expanded considerably.1 However, most of these panels still span relatively short periods of time, have just two rounds, and pay limited attention to the issues of tracking, attrition and measurement error (Dercon and Shapiro, 2007). This book, which is based primarily on the work commissioned by the CPRC’s poverty dynamics and economic mobility theme, brings together six more panel studies from Asia and Africa. The distinguishing feature of these studies is that they are longer term and/ or have more waves than most panel studies and pay careful attention to tracking, attrition and measurement error. This chapter provides a broad introduction to the methodological issues that arise when analysing poverty dynamics in longer panels, together with the main findings from the six country studies. The methodological issues discussed include how one should identify and measure the chronically poor, attrition and tracking, the pernicious influence of measurement error, modelling poverty transitions, and sequencing and integrating qualitative and quantitative methods. The findings from the country...

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