Poverty
 
Hazards of farm loan waivers
Tanika Chakraborty , Aarti Gupta
Posted on: 23 May 2017

In theory, debt waivers are expected to induce the optimal level of effort from the debtor for loan repayment. However, repeated waivers may distort household expectations about credit contract enforcements in the future. This column analyses the effect of Uttar Pradesh’s state-level debt waiver programme – announced right after India’s nationwide Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme – on consumption and investment behaviour of households.
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Price risk and poverty
Lucie Gadenne , Sam Norris , Monica Singhal , Sandip Sukhtankar
Posted on: 15 May 2017

There is an ongoing policy debate in India on whether grain entitlements under PDS should be converted into cash transfers. This column shows that in the face of high price variability, in-kind transfers such as the PDS can be superior to cash transfers as they could significantly reduce the strength of the relationship between prices and caloric intake, hence, shielding households from price risk.
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The decline of rural earnings inequality in India
Deepti Goel , Shantanu Khanna , René Morissette
Posted on: 05 Apr 2017

While earnings inequality remained virtually unchanged in urban India between 2004-05 and 2011-12, it declined sharply in rural India over this period. This column finds that although the change in the distribution of education among paid workers had an inequality-increasing effect, there was a net decline in rural inequality because returns to increased levels of education improved more for low-earning workers than high-earning ones.
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Income inequality in a globalising world
Miguel Niño-Zarazúa , Laurence Roope , Finn Tarp
Posted on: 17 Feb 2017

Since the turn of the century, income inequality has risen to be among the most prominent policy issues of our time. This column looks at inequality trends in recent decades. While relative global inequality has fallen, insufficient economic convergence, together with substantial growth in per capita incomes, has resulted in increased absolute inequality since the mid-1970s. The inclusivity aspect of growth is now more imperative than ever.
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Inequality in the typical country in the last 25 years
Jose Cuesta , Christoph Lakner , Mario Negre , Ani Silwal
Posted on: 10 Feb 2017
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While inequality has received a great deal of attention in the public debate in recent times, the poor quality of data available on this issue is a constraint. Based on a recently-compiled database of the World Bank, this column presents the trend for within-country inequality for the average country.
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Politician’s pain is poor man’s gain: Income distribution in close-election constituencies
Shabana Mitra , Anirban Mitra
Posted on: 09 Nov 2016
Tags:   democracy

Studies have highlighted the role of electoral competition in directing the flow of public funds. Analysing data from India, this column finds lower income inequality and polarisation in tightly contested constituencies, implying that the poor gain more from electoral competition relative to the rich.
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What do we know about the wealthy in India? A pre-liberalisation analysis
Rishabh Kumar
Posted on: 26 Oct 2016

Academic attention on the metamorphosis and concentration of wealth has so far excluded poor countries. This column analyses wealth distribution in India, post-independence and pre-liberalisation. It finds that during this period of modest economic growth, the importance of the elite, especially the top 0.01%, declined quite dramatically relative to national income.
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Poverty reduction in India: Revisiting past debates with 60 years of data
Gaurav Datt , Rinku Murgai , Martin Ravallion
Posted on: 10 Oct 2016
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There has been much debate about the poverty impacts of economic growth and structural transformation in developing countries. This column revisits these issues using a newly constructed dataset of poverty measures for India spanning 60 years. There has been a downward trend in poverty measures since 1970, with an acceleration post-1991, despite rising inequality. Post-1991 data suggest stronger inter-sectoral linkages. Urban consumption growth came with gains to both the rural and urban poor. The primary/secondary/tertiary composition of growth has ceased to matter, as all three sectors contributed to poverty reduction.
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Insights from long-term studies of Indian villages
Himanshu , Praveen K. Jha , Gerry Rodgers
Posted on: 23 Sep 2016

Much of our knowledge of change in rural areas depends on longitudinal village studies. Drawing upon a number of village studies carried out over the years in India, this column provides a broad picture of how the economic and social structures of villages are changing, and the consequences for production, employment, migration, inequality and other key issues.
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How serious is the neglect of intra-household inequality in poverty measures in India?
Stephan Klasen , Rahul Lahoti
Posted on: 01 Aug 2016
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Poverty measurement at the household level assumes that the poverty status of all household members, irrespective of age and gender, is the same as that of the household. This column presents a framework to measure multidimensional poverty at the individual level and finds that intra-household inequality in poverty measures vastly increases the differences in poverty rates between genders and across age groups. The framework is especially important given that the World Bank plans to measure poverty rates for men and women separately.
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