17 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2005
Pro-poor growth is often advocated but seldom defined. Some proposed definitions and associated measures are reviewed in this paper. Much of this literature stresses the importance of reducing economic inequality. A basic source of confusion is whether inequality reduction is desired as a means for reducing poverty or as an end in itself. This paper argues that if it is the former, as is usually said, the pro-poor growth literature tends to overstate the importance of reducing inequality, or avoiding an increase. Growth that is most effective at reducing poverty does not necessarily coincide with growth that reduces inequality. This literature is overly pre-occupied with statistical evaluation of the outcomes of economic events, based on changes in the distribution of household incomes or expenditures. What is most needed is solidly based empirical research on the manner and extent to which alternative growth strategies influence the rate of poverty reduction.
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