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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Dynamics of Poverty, Inequality and Economic Well-Being: African Economic Growth in Comparative Perspective
Author:Fields, G.S.
Year:2000
Periodical:Journal of African Economies
Volume:9 Supplement 1
Pages:45-78
Language:English
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:poverty
income distribution
Economics and Trade
Development and Technology
External link:https://doi.org/10.1093/jafeco/9.Supplement_1.45
Abstract:This paper discusses the various approaches to the measurement of poverty and inequality, including examples of their application to Africa. In addition, the paper reviews methods for assessing how inequality, poverty and economic well-being have changed over time. No particular regularity between inequality and growth emerges from the African data. It is not the rate of economic growth or the stage of economic growth that determines whether income inequality decreases or increases, but rather what matters is the kind of economic growth. A review of the evolution of the state of poverty in Africa shows that the poor constitute nearly one half of the population. Appropriate measurement of the poverty line may be critical to resolving the debate on the relative importance of economic growth and income distribution for poverty reduction. Different income distributions can be ranked using abbreviated social welfare functions and welfare dominance analysis. Policymakers can choose among different income distributions relative to the well-being of the people. In a comment on p. 79-82 Jean-Yves Duclos argues that the use of 'relative poverty', implicit in a non-trivial linkage of inequality to poverty, is much more akin to the concept of social welfare dominance than to a 'sensible definition of poverty'. Bibliogr., notes.
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