Arnold Kling

Decline in Global Poverty, Inequality

Arnold Kling, Great Questions of Economics
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Business Week reported on the results of a study that was published by Xavier Sala-i-Martin in an NBER working paper.

We estimate poverty rates and headcounts by integrating the density function below the $1/day and $2/day poverty lines. We find that poverty rates decline substantially over the last twenty years. We compute poverty headcounts and find that the number of one-dollar poor declined by 235 million between 1976 and 1998. The number of $2/day poor declined by 450 million over the same period.

For the world as a whole, Sala-i-Martin found that inequality in world income declined over the past twenty years. Much of the progress that occurred was in China and India. The situation in Africa actually worsened.

Discussion Question. What policies might eliminate the poverty that remains, particularly in Africa?

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