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Now available from CABI

Cover of Decentralization volume

From James Currey, Publishers

The Economy of Ghana
See Table of Contents

From the HSRC Press,
South Africa

Poverty and Policy in Post-Apartheid South Africa

From the Routledge Press: Understanding and Reducing Persistent Poverty in Africa

Understanding and Reducing Persistent Poverty in Africa - Cover

See Table of Contents

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SAGA publications on this page are organized by publication date. Alternatively, you may view papers by:
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The SAGA Project ended in 2008. Additional working papers by SAGA authors can be found at the Cornell Food and Nutrition Policy Program website. Selected titles are included here with links to that site.

Determinants of Internal Migration Among Senegalese Youth
Herrera, Catalina, and David E. Sahn

See Cornell Food and Nutrition Policy Program Working Paper #245.

The Role of Education and Family Background in Marriage, Childbearing, and Labor Market Participation in Senegal
Marchetta, Francesca, and David E. Sahn

See Cornell Food and Nutrition Policy Program Working Paper #243.

Schooling, Marriage, and Childbearing in Madagascar
Glick, Peter J., Christopher Handy, and David E. Sahn

See Cornell Food and Nutrition Policy Program Working Paper #241.

Household Shocks and Education Investment in Madagascar
Glick, Peter J., David E. Sahn, and Thomas F. Walker

See Cornell Food and Nutrition Policy Program Working Paper #240.

Household Water Supply Choice and Time Allocated to Water Collection: Evidence from Madagascar
Boone, Christopher, Peter Glick, and David E. Sahn

See Cornell Food and Nutrition Policy Program Working Paper #238.
In Journal of Development Studies 47(12):1826-1850, December, 2011

Household and Provider Behavior in the Health Sector in Africa: What Has Been Learned from Program Evaluations?
Glick, Peter

See Cornell Food and Nutrition Policy Program Working Paper #237.

Family Background, School Characteristics and Children’s Cognitive Achievement in Madagascar
Glick, Peter, Jean Claude Randrianarisoa, and David E. Sahn

See Cornell Food and Nutrition Policy Program Working Paper #233.
In Education Economics 19(4):363-396

The Demand for Hired Labor in Rural Madagascar
Randrianarisoa, Jean Claude, Christopher B. Barrett, and David C. Stifel

See Cornell Food and Nutrition Policy Program Working Paper #234.

Systemic Crises and the Social Protection System: Three Proposals for World Bank Action
Kanbur, Ravi

See Cornell Food and Nutrition Policy Program Working Paper #235.

Macro Crises and Targeting Transfers to the Poor
Kanbur, Ravi

See Cornell Food and Nutrition Policy Program Working Paper #236.
Paper prepared for the Growth Commission. Revised version published in Journal of Globalization and Development, 2010.

Incomplete Credit Markets and Commodity Marketing Behavior
February 2011
Stephens, Emma C. and Christopher B. Barrett

Seasonal market participation patterns for smallholder farmers in western Kenya indicate that a signicant proportion follow a ‘sell low, buy high’ marketing strategy, in which these households forego opportunities for intertemporal price arbitrage through storage and are observed to sell output post-harvest at prices lower than observed prices for purchases in the subsequent lean season. We use data from the region to examine whether this behavior can be partly explained by the presence of a binding liquidity constraint for these farmers. We estimate a multi-period market participation model in the presence of liquidity constraints and transactions costs using maximum likelihood. Access to credit and off-farm income indeed seem to influence crop sales and purchase behaviors in a manner consistent with the hypothesized patterns.
In Journal of Agricultural Economics 62(1): 1-24, February, 2011

The Relationship between Poverty and Maternal Morbidity and Mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa
Meyerhoefer, Chad and David E. Sahn

“Good maternal health is of fundamental importance to a country’s well-being and ability to prosper, and there are few times when maternal health is more at risk than in the period surrounding childbirth. Protecting the health of mothers during reproduction safeguards their future contributions to society and ensures the health and productivity of future generations. If either the health of mothers or their newborn offspring is compromised, there will be serious negative consequences for their families, communities, and the entire process of economic and social development. This is why the United Nations has set as one of its eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the reduction of the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) by two-thirds in the developing world by the year 2015... ”
Presented at the AERC/Hewlett Foundation Workshop, “Poverty and Economic Growth: The Impact of Population Dynamics and Reproductive Health Outcomes in Africa” in Brussels, Belgium, November 5-6, 2006
In Reproductive Health, Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction in Africa: Frameworks of Analysis, edited by Olu Ajakaiye and Germano Mwabu. University of Nairobi Press, 2010

The Evolution of Groupwise Poverty in Madagascar, 1999-2005
August 2010
Stifel, David, Felix Forster, and Christopher B. Barrett

This paper explores whether there exist differences in groupwise poverty in Madagascar; that is, whether there is a pattern over time of consistently poorer performance among subpopulations readily identifiable by one or more identity markers. Three key messages come out of this analysis. First, there exists a core type of household that remained persistently poor over the 1999-2005 period. These households were largely not members of the dominant ethnic group, land poor, lived in remote areas, and were headed by uneducated individuals, most commonly women. Second, in addition to establishing the existence of persistent differences in poverty across groups, relative differences in returns to education, land and remoteness underscore the existence of differences within groups, as one characteristic affects the returns to another. Third, persistent differences in groupwise poverty is associated with multiple different identities, some of which are offsetting and some of which are reinforcing. For example, women’s higher education tends to offset the disadvantages associated with being a head of household, while remoteness compounds the disadvantages associated with living in female-headed households.
Paper presented at workshop hosted by the Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity (CRISE): The Persistence of Inequalities, Department of International Development, University of Oxford, April 4, 2008
In Journal of African Economies 19(4):559-604, August, 2010

Social Learning, Social Influence and Projection Bias: A caution on inferences based on proxy-reporting of peer behavior
April 2010
Hogset, Heidi and Christopher B. Barrett

This paper explores the consequences of conflating social learning and social influence concepts and of the widespread use of proxy-reported behavioral data for accurate understanding of learning from others. Our empirical analysis suggests that proxy-reporting is more accurate for new innovations, about which social learning is more plausible, than for mature technologies. Furthermore, proxy-reporting errors are correlated with respondent attributes, suggesting projection bias. Self- and proxy-reported variables generate different regression results, raising questions about inferences based on error-prone, proxy-reported peer behaviors. Self-reported peer behavior consistently exhibits statistically insignificant effects on network members’ adoption behavior, suggesting an absence of social effects.
In Economic Development and Cultural Change 58(3):563-589

Early Academic Performance, Grade Repetition, and School Attainment in Senegal: A Panel Data Analysis
January 2010
Glick, Peter and David E. Sahn

Little is known in developing country environments about how a child’s cognitive skills manifested in the first years of schooling are related to his or her later educational success, because the panel data needed to analyze this question have been lacking. In this study we take advantage of unique data from Senegal, combining test score data for children from the second grade with information on their subsequent school progression from a follow-up survey conducted seven years later. We find that measures of skills from early in primary school, corrected for measurement error using multiple test observations per child, are very strongly positively associated with later school progression. A plausible interpretation is that parents invest more in a child’s education when the returns to doing so are higher. The results point to the need for remedial policies to target lagging students early on to reduce early dropout. A current policy targeting poorly performing students is grade repetition, which is pervasive in Francophone Africa. Using variation across schools in test score thresholds for promotion to identify the effects of second grade repetition, we find that a repeated student is more likely to leave school before completing primary than a student with similar ability who is not held back (and also does not learn more), pointing to the need for alternative measures to improve skills of lagging children.
In World Bank Economic Review 24(1): 93-120, January, 2010

Empirical Forecasting of Slow-Onset Disasters for Improved Emergency Response: An Application to Kenya’s Arid North
August 2009
Mude, Andrew, Christopher B. Barrett, John G. McPeak, Robert Kaitho and Patti Kristjansen

Mitigating the negative welfare consequences of crises such as droughts, floods, and disease outbreaks, is a major challenge in many areas of the world, especially in highly vulnerable areas insufficiently equipped to prevent food and livelihood security crisis in the face of adverse shocks. Given the finite resources allocated for emergency response, and the expected increase in incidences of humanitarian catastrophe due to changing climate patterns, there is a need for rigorous and efficient methods of early warning and emergency needs assessment. In this paper we develop an empirical model, based on a relatively parsimonious set of regularly measured variables from communities in Kenya’s arid north, that generates remarkably accurate forecasts of the likelihood of famine with at least three months lead time. Such a forecasting model is a potentially valuable tool for enhancing early warning capacity.
Presented at Policy Research Conference on “Pastoralism and Poverty Reduction in East Africa,” held in Nairobi, Kenya, June 27-28, 2006
In Food Policy 34(4): 329-339, August, 2009

Spatial Integration at Multiple Scales: Rice Markets in Madagascar
May 2009
Moser, Christine, Christopher B. Barrett, and Bart Minten

The dramatic increase in the price of rice and other commodities over the past year has generated new interest in how these markets work and how they can be improved. This article uses an exceptionally rich data set to test the extent to which markets in Madagascar are integrated across space at different scales of analysis and to explain some of the factors that limit spatial arbitrage and price equalization within a single country. We use rice price data across four quarters of 2000-2001 along with data on transportation costs and infrastructure availability for nearly 1,400 communes in Madagascar to examine the extent of market integration at three different spatial scales—subregional, regional, and national—and to determine whether non-integration is due to high transfer costs or lack of competition. The results indicate that markets are fairly well integrated at the subregional level and that factors such as high crime rates, remoteness, and lack of information are among the factors limiting competition.
In Agricultural Economics 40(3): 281-294, May, 2009

Measuring Intra-Household Inequality: Explorations Using the Body Mass Index
April 2009
Sahn, David E. and Stephen D. Younger

This paper examines the relationship between level of well-being and inequality at inter-country and intra-household levels, using individuals’ body mass index (BMI) rather than income as the indicator of well-being. BMI is useful for these purposes because (1) it is measured at the individual rather than household level; (2) it reflects command over food, but also non-food resources that affect health status like sanitary conditions and labour-saving technologies; (3) it accounts for caloric consumption relative to needs; (4) it is easily measured; and (5) any measurement error is likely to be random. We do not find any evidence to support the idea of an intra-household or inter-country Kuznets curve. We study the correlations between average household well-being, still measured by BMI, and differences in the BMIs of males and females, parents and children. Here, we find a tendency to protect the BMI of young children when living standards are very low. We find no clear patterns by gender. Perhaps the most striking finding in the paper is that about half of total BMI inequality at the country level is within households. Thus, standard measures of inequality that use household-level data may drastically understate true inequality.
Presented at the WIDER Conference on Advancing Health Equity, Helsinki, Finland, September 29-30, 2006, and the CIRPÉE Conference on Health Economics, Université Laval, March 30, 2007
In Health Economics 18(S1): S13-S36, April, 2009 (UNU-WIDER Special Issue on Health and Development)

Risk Management and Social Visibility in Ghana
April 2009
Vanderpuye-Orgle, Jacqueline and Christopher B. Barrett

In this paper we test for risk pooling within and among social networks to see if the extent of informal insurance available to individuals in rural Ghana varies with their social visibility. We identify a distinct subpopulation of socially invisible individuals who tend to be younger, poorer, engaged in farming, recent arrivals into the village who have been fostered and are not members of a major clan. While we cannot reject the null hypothesis that individual shocks do not affect individual consumption and that individual consumption tracks network and village consumption one-for-one among the socially visible, risk pooling fails for the socially invisible subpopulation. These results have important implications for the design of social protection policy.
In African Development Review 21(1):5-35, April, 2009

Understanding Declining Mobility and Inter-household Transfers among East African Pastoralists
April 2009
Huysentruyt, Marieke, Christoper B. Barrett, and John G. McPeak

We model inter-household transfers between nomadic livestock herders as the state-dependent consequence of individuals’ strategic interdependence, resulting from the existence of multiple, opposing externalities—more specifically, a public-good security externality among individuals sharing a social (e.g. ethnic) identity in a potentially hostile environment, and a resource appropriation externality related to the use of common property grazing lands. Our model augments the extant literature on transfers, and is more consistent with the limited available empirical evidence on heterogeneous and changing transfers’ patterns among east African pastoralists. The core principles of our model possibly apply more broadly, for example to long-distance migrants or even ‘foot soldiers’in street gangs.
In Economica 76(302): 315-336, April, 2009

Determinants of HIV Knowledge and Condom Use among Women in Madagascar: An Analysis Using Matched Household and Community Data
April 2009
Glick, Peter, Josée Randriamamonjy, and David E. Sahn

We estimate the determinants of HIV/AIDS knowledge and related behavior (use of condoms) among women in Madagascar, a country where prevalence remains low but conditions are ripe for a rapid increase in infections. In both rural and urban areas, more educated and wealthier women are more likely to know about means of preventing infection, less likely to have misconceptions about transmission, and more likely to use condoms. Community factors such as availability of health centers and access to roads also are associated with greater HIV knowledge. However, most of the large rural-urban difference in mean knowledge is due not to location per se but to differences in schooling and wealth; rather than simply being geographically targeted, AIDS education efforts must be designed to target and be understood by uneducated and poor subpopulations.
In African Development Review 21(1): 147-179, April, 2009

Do Free Goods Stick to Poor Households? Experimental Evidence on Insecticide Treated Bednets
March 2009
Hoffmann, Vivian, Christopher B. Barrett, and David R. Just

If the market allocates goods to those willing and able to pay the most for them, efforts to target durable health goods such as insecticide-treated bednets (ITNs) to poor populations may prove ineffective, with the poor reselling donated goods to the non-poor who value them more highly. However, low market demand may be due to liquidity constraints rather than low valuation of nets. The endowment effect also militates against the resale of in-kind transfers. We quantify these two effects through a field experiment in Uganda. Our results indicate that very few nets will be resold by recipient households.
In World Development 37(3):607-617, March, 2009

Persistent Poverty and Informal Credit
November 2008
Santos, Paulo and Christopher B. Barrett

This paper explores the consequences of nonlinear wealth dynamics for the formation of bilateral credit arrangements to help manage idiosyncratic risk. Building on recent empirical work that finds evidence consistent with the hypothesis of multiple equilibrium poverty traps, and using original primary data on expected wealth dynamics, social networks and informal loans among southern Ethiopian pastoralist households, we find that the threshold at which wealth dynamics bifurcate serves as a focal point at which lending is concentrated. Informal lending responds to recipients’ losses but only so long as the recipients are not “too poor”. Our results suggest that when shocks can have long term effects, loans are not scale-neutral. Furthermore,the persistently poor are excluded from social networks that are necessary to obtain loans given in response to shocks.

Ghana’s Economy at Half Century: An Overview of Stability, Growth and Poverty
September 2008
Aryeetey, Ernest and Ravi Kanbur

As Ghana enters its second half century, we are faced with a paradox. Despite a solid transition to democracy in the political situation, despite recorded recovery in the last fifteen years from the economic malaise of the two decades preceding, and despite reductions in measured poverty, there is widespread perception of failure of the economic and political system in delivering improving living standards to the population. This essay introduces a volume of papers that call for a deeper examination of the macro level data on growth and on poverty. A sectoral and regional disaggregation reveals weaknesses in the levels and composition of private investment, in the generation of employment, in sectoral diversification, and in the distribution of the benefits of growth. At the same time, the push for decentralization, and for better allocation, monitoring and implementation of public expenditure has raised more questions than it has answered. These are the challenges that Ghana faces if it is to fulfill the bright promise of its independence in 1957. The papers in this volume set out an analytical agenda that we hope will help in laying the ground work for the path that the nation’s policy makers will have to steer on the road to 2057.
Introduction to Ernest Aryeetey and Ravi Kanbur (editors), The Economy of Ghana: Analytical Perspectives on Stability, Growth and Poverty, James Currey, 2008.

What Drives Change in Ghana? A Political-Economy View of Economic Prospects
September 2008
Killick, Tony

President Clinton famously had the slogan, ‘It’s the economy, stupid’, hanging in the Oval Office as a constant reminder to himself of what his priority should be to keep the American electorate on his side. Giving priority to the population’s economic well-being is good advice to all democratic politicians but I will argue that, if we want to understand the half-century of the Ghanaian economy’s experiences, we should invert Clinton’s priority and pay most attention to institutions and politics. The mantra for economists trying to understand the performance of Ghana’s economy should be, “It’s the polity….”
In Ernest Aryeetey and Ravi Kanbur (editors), The Economy of Ghana: Analytical Perspectives on Stability, Growth and Poverty, James Currey, 2008.

Ghana Census-Based Poverty Map: District and Sub-District level Results
September 2008
Coulombe, Harold

This paper documents the construction and presents the main results of a Ghanaian poverty map based on the GLSS4 survey and the Census 2000. The methodology takes advantages of detailed information found in the survey and the exhaustive coverage of the census. It permits the calculation of poverty indicators at a very low level of desegregation; sub-district in the case of Ghana. In the current paper district level poverty figures are presented. Council level estimates are also available.
In Ernest Aryeetey and Ravi Kanbur (editors), The Economy of Ghana: Analytical Perspectives on Stability, Growth and Poverty, James Currey, 2008.

Interpersonal, Intertemporal and Spatial Variation in Risk Perceptions: Evidence from East Africa
August 2008
Doss, Cheryl, John McPeak, and Barrett, Christopher B.

This study investigates variation over time, space and household and individual characteristics in how people perceive different risks. Using original data from the arid and semi-arid lands of east Africa, we explore which risks concern individuals and how they assess their relative level of concern about these identified risks. Because these assessments were gathered for multiple time periods, sites, households and individuals within households, we are able to identify the degree to which risk perceptions vary across time, across communities, across households within a community, and across individuals within a household. We find the primary determinants of risk rankings to be changing community level variables over time, with household specific and individual specific variables exhibiting much less influence. This suggests that community based planning and monitoring of development efforts that address risk exposure should be prioritized. We also find that individuals throughout this area are most concerned about food security overall, so that development efforts that directly address this problem should be given the highest priority.
In World Development 36(8): 1453-68 2008

Smallholder Market Participation: Concepts and Evidence from Eastern and Southern Africa
August 2008
Barrett, Christopher B.

This paper reviews the evidence on smallholder market participation, with a focus on staple foodgrains (i.e., cereals) in eastern and southern Africa, in an effort to help better identify what interventions are most likely to break smallholders out of the semi-subsistence poverty trap that appears to ensnare much of rural Africa. The conceptual and empirical evidence suggests that interventions aimed at facilitating smallholder organization, at reducing the costs of intermarket commerce, and, perhaps especially, at improving poorer households’ access to improved technologies and productive assets are central to stimulating smallholder market participation and escape from semi-subsistence poverty traps. Macroeconomic and trade policy tools appear less useful in inducing market participation by poor smallholders in the region.
Prepared for FAO workshop on Staple Food Trade and Market Policy Options for Promoting Development in Eastern and Southern Africa, Rome, March 1-2, 2007.
In Food Policy 33(4): 299-317, August, 2008

Challenging Orthodoxies: Understanding Poverty in Pastoral Areas of East Africa
July 2008
Little, Peter D., John McPeak, Christopher B. Barrett and Patti Kristjanson

Understanding and alleviating poverty in Africa continues to receive considerable attention by a range of diverse actors, including politicians, international celebrities, academics, activists, and practitioners. Despite the onslaught of interest, there surprisingly is little agreement on what constitutes poverty in rural Africa, how it should be assessed, and what should be done to alleviate it. Based on data from an interdisciplinary study of pastoralism in northern Kenya, this article examines issues of poverty among one of the continent’s most vulnerable groups, pastoralists, and challenges the application of such orthodox proxies as incomes/expenditures, geographic remoteness, and market integration. It argues that current poverty debates ’homogenize‚ the concept of ’pastoralist‚ by failing to acknowledge the diverse livelihoods and wealth differentiation that fall under the term. The article concludes that what is not needed is another development label (stereotype) that equates pastoralism with poverty, thereby empowering outside interests to transform rather than strengthen pastoral livelihoods.
Overview Paper for the Policy Research Conference on “Pastoralism and Poverty Reduction in East Africa,” held in Nairobi, Kenya, June 27-28, 2006
In Development and Change 39(4), pp. 587-611, 2008

Improving Food Aid’s Impact: What Reforms Would Yield The Highest Payoff?
July 2008
Lentz, Erin C. and Christopher B. Barrett

Developing an integrated model of the food aid distribution chain, from donor appropriations through operational agency programming decisions to household consumption choices we simulate alternative policies and sensitivity analysis to establish how varying underlying conditions — e.g., delivery costs, the political additionality of food, targeting efficacy — affect the optimal policy for improving the well-being of food insecure households. We find that improved targeting by operational agencies is crucial to advancing food security objectives. At the donor level, the key policy variable under most model parameterizations is ocean freight costs associated with cargo preference restrictions on US food aid.
In World Development 36(7): 1152-1172, July, 2008

Agricultural Technology, Productivity, and Poverty in Madagascar
May 2008
Minten, Bart and Christopher B. Barrett

This paper uses a unique, spatially-explicit dataset to study the link between agricultural performance and rural poverty in Madagascar. We show that, controlling for geographical and physical characteristics, communes that have higher rates of adoption of improved agricultural technologies and, consequently, higher crop yields enjoy lower food prices, higher real wages for unskilled workers, and better welfare indicators. The empirical evidence strongly favors support for improved agricultural production as an important part of any strategy to reduce the high poverty and food insecurity rates currently prevalent in rural Madagascar.
In World Development 36(5): 797-822, 2008

Food Systems and the Escape from Poverty and Ill-Health Traps in Sub-Saharan Africa
May 2008
Barrett, Christopher

Millienium Development Goal #1 is to halve extreme poverty ($1/day per person) and hunger. Progress toward this goal has been excellent at global level, led by China and India, but woefully insufficient in sub-Saharan Africa. In Africa, a disproportionate share of the extreme poor are “ultra-poor”, surviving on less than $0.50/day per person, a condition that appears both stubbornly persistent and closely associated with widespread severe malnutrition – “ultra hunger” – and ill health. Indeed, ill health, malnutrition and ultra-poverty are mutually reinforcing states that add to the challenge of addressing any one of them on its own and make integrated strategies essential. Food systems are a natural locus for such a strategy because agriculture is the primary employment sector for the ultra-poor and because food consumes a very large share of the expenditures of the ultra-poor. The causal mechanisms underpinning the poverty trap in which ultra-poor, unhealthy and undernourished rural Africans too often find themselves remain only partially understood, but is clearly rooted in the food system that guides their production, exchange, consumption and investment behaviors. Four key principles to guide interventions in improving food systems emerge clearly. But there remains only limited empirical evidence to guide detailed design and implementation of strategies to develop African food systems so as to break the lock of poverty and ill-health traps.
This paper was prepared for the Cornell University and United Nations University Symposium on The African Food System and its Interactions with Health and Nutrition, held at the United Nations, New York City, November 13, and at Cornell University, November 15, 2007.

Poverty Traps and Resource Dynamics In Smallholder Agrarian Systems
April 2008
Barrett, Christopher B.

Poverty traps and resource degradation in the rural tropics appear to have multiple and complex, but similar, causes. Market imperfections, imperfect learning, bounded rationality, spillovers, coordination failures and economically dysfunctional institutions all play a role, to varying degrees in different places and times. Pinning down these mechanisms empirically remains a challenge, however, but one essential to the design of appropriate interventions for reducing poverty and environmental degradation in areas where livelihoods depend heavily on natural resources.
Prepared for the international conference on “Economics of Poverty, Environment and Natural Resource Use,” held at Wageningen University, the Netherlands, May 17-19, 2006
Chapter 2 in Economics of Poverty, Environment and Natural Resource Use, A. Ruijs, R. Dellink, eds., Springer.

Policy Impacts on Schooling Gender Gaps in Developing Countries: The Evidence and a Framework for Interpretation
February 2008
Glick, Peter

In many regions of the developing world girls continue to receive less education than boys. This paper reviews the evidence on the effects of policies in the education sector and outside it on household schooling investments in girls and boys, distinguishing between policies that are ostensibly gender neutral and those that explicitly target girls. It is frequently (but certainly not universally) found that the demand for girl’s schooling is more responsive than boys’ to gender neutral changes in school cost or distance as well as quality. Although these patterns can be interpreted in terms of parental preferences, this paper shows that they can also plausibly be explained within a human capital investment framework through assumptions about the nature of schooling cost and returns functions. Among these policies, increasing the physical accessibility of schools emerges as a measure that may result in disproportionate enrollment gains for girls. Where gender gaps are large or persistent, however, direct targeting of girls is probably necessary. Formal evidence from a number of demand or supply side interventions, including subsidies to households and to schools to enroll girls and the provision of girls-only schools, suggests the potential for targeted measures to yield substantial gains for girls. Many other policies, such as subsidized childcare or flexible school scheduling that address the opportunity costs of girls’ time, hold promise but for the most part have yet to be subject to rigorous assessment. The paper discusses methodological problems in such assessments and concludes with suggestions for future research on policies to close schooling gender gaps.
This is an expanded version of a paper published in World Development 36(9): 1623-46, 2008.

Are Africans Practicing Safer Sex: Evidence from Demographic and Health Surveys for Eight Countries
January 2008
Glick, Peter and David E. Sahn

We use repeated rounds of Demographic and Health Survey data from eight African countries to examine changes in and determinants of three HIV risk behaviors: age at first intercourse; number of current sexual partners, and use of condoms. As a prelude, we assess the within- country comparability of DHS surveys over time. We find some evidence of changes in sample composition, which is easily handled in a multivariate framework, and find evidence as well of changes in how people respond to questions about HIV behavior. Because of the latter, which likely represents an increase in social desirability bias over time, our estimates of risk reduction may be upper bounds on the true effects. Overall the picture is one of reductions in risk behaviors over recent 4-6 year intervals, especially with respect to condom use; in some cases the changes seem large given the short time periods involved. With some exceptions, however, the extent and pervasiveness of these changes seems inadequate in relation to the urgency of the public health crisis represented by AIDS. With respect to the determinants of behaviors, schooling and wealth have contradictory impacts on risk behavior: they both tend to increase the likelihood of using condoms while (for men) also increasing the demand for additional sexual partners.
Presented at the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) Seminar on “Interactions between Poverty and HIV/AIDS,” Cape Town, South Africa, December 2005.
Alternate version in Economic Development and Cultural Change 56(2):397-439, January, 2008

Productivity in Malagasy Rice Systems: Wealth-differentiated Constraints and Priorities
December 2007
Minten, Bart, Jean Claude Randrianarisoa and Christopher B. Barrett

This study explores the constraints on agricultural productivity and priorities in boosting productivity in rice, the main staple in Madagascar, using a range of different data sets and analytical methods, integrating qualitative assessments by farmers and quantitative evidence from panel data production function analysis and willingness-to-pay estimates for chemical fertilizer. Nationwide, farmers seek primarily labor productivity enhancing interventions, e.g., improved access to agricultural equipment, cattle, and irrigation. Shock mitigation measures, land productivity increasing technologies, and improved land tenure are reported to be much less important. Research and interventions aimed at reducing costs and price volatility within the fertilizer supply chain might help at least the more accessible regions to more readily adopt chemical fertilizer.
Invited panel paper prepared for presentation at the International Association of Agricultural Economists Conference, Gold Coast, Australia, August 12-18, 2006
In Agricultural Economics 37(s1): 237-248, December, 2007

Are Client Satisfaction Surveys Useful? Evidence from Matched Facility and Household Data in Madagascar
September 2007
Glick, Peter

Client satisfaction surveys in developing countries are increasingly being promoted as a means of understanding health care quality and the demand for these services. However, concerns have been raised about the reliability of responses in such surveys: for example, ‘courtesy bias’ may lead clients, especially if interviewed upon exiting clinics, to provide misleadingly favorable responses. This study uses unique data from Madagascar to investigate these and other issues. Identical questions about satisfaction with local health care centers were asked in user exit surveys and in a population based household survey; the latter would be less contaminated by courtesy bias as well as changes in provider behavior in response to being observed. We find strong evidence that reported satisfaction is biased upward in exit surveys for subjective questions regarding (for example) treatment by staff and consultation quality, but is not biased for relatively objective questions about facility condition and supplies. The surveys do provide useful information on the determinants of consumer satisfaction with various dimensions of provider quality. Still, to obtain reliable estimates of consumer perceptions of health service quality, household based sampling appears to be far superior to the simpler exit survey method.
Presented at the Regional Conference on “Education in West Africa: Constraints and Opportunities” in Dakar, Senegal, November 1-2, 2005
This is an expanded version of a paper published in Social Science and Medicine.

Inequality and Poverty in Africa in an Era of Globalization: Looking Beyond Income to Health and Education
August 2007
Sahn, David E. and Stephen D. Younger

This paper describes changes over the past 15-20 years in non-income measures of well- being – education and health – in Africa. We expected to find, as we did in Latin America, that progress in the provision of public services and the focus of public spending in the social sector would contribute to declining poverty and inequality in health and education, even in an environment of stagnant or worsening levels of income poverty. Unfortunately, our results indicate that in the area of health, little progress is being made in terms of reducing pre-school age stunting, a clear manifestation of poor overall health. Likewise, our health inequality measure showed that while there were a few instances of reduced inequality along this dimension, there was, on balance, little evidence of success in improving equality of outcomes. Similar results were found in our examination of underweight women as an indicator of general current health status of adults. With regard to education, the story is somewhat more positive. However, the overall picture gives little cause for complacency or optimism that Africa has, or will soon reap the potential benefits of the process of globalization.
Presented at the UNU-WIDER Conference on “The Impact of Globalization on the Poor in Africa,” Johannesburg, South Africa, 1-2 December, 2005

Decomposing World Education Inequality
August 2007
Sahn, David E. and Stephen D. Younger

We decompose global inequality in educational achievement into within- and between- country components. We find that the former is significantly larger. This is different than results for international income inequality, but similar to results for international health inequality.

Living Standards in Africa
August 2007
Sahn, David E. and Stephen D. Younger

This paper substantiates two claims — that Africa is poor compared to the rest of the world and that poverty in Africa is not declining consistently or significantly, in contrast to other regions of the world. We consider poverty in the dimensions of health and education, in addition to income, stressing the inherent conceptual and measurement issues that commend such a broader perspective. We note a lack of consistency in the movement of the poverty measures. During similar periods, we often find them moving in opposite directions. We therefore discuss the need go beyond examining each poverty measure individually, and present an approach to evaluating poverty reduction in multiple dimensions jointly. The results of the multidimensional poverty comparisons reinforce the importance of considering deprivation beyond the material standard of living and provide insight into how to reconcile differing stories that arise from examining each indicator separately.
Forthcoming in Sudhir Anand, Paul Segal, and Joseph E. Stiglitz, Debates in the Measurement of Global Inequality, Oxford University Press, 2008.

Decentralization of Pastoral Resources Management and its Effects on Environmental Degradation and Poverty, Experience from Northern Kenya
August 2007
Munyao, Kioko and Christopher B. Barrett

“Growing concerns about persistent poverty and environmental sustainability have helped fuel efforts at decentralizing governance throughout the developing world. The 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro brought widespread calls for greater community participation and equity in natural resources management and sustainable development planning, and these pressures have grown amid institutional reforms fostered by movements towards democratization and market-based economic policy, spurred by, among others, the Bretton Woods institutions (the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank) in the last two decades of the twentieth century (Goumandakoye 2003). Ironically, however, in many cases decentralization has been used by national governments not as a means to cede authority to local subjects, but rather to extend control still deeper into local community life and resource management, while still reaping the political capital associated with the rhetoric of bringing government services and development closer to the people. Often this involves the subtle but real transfer of influence, even control, from customary users of the resource to newcomers with better connections to government representatives... ”
In Decentralization and the Social Economics of Development: Lessons from Kenya, edited by Christopher B. Barrett, Andrew G. Mude, and John M. Omiti. Wallingford, UK: CAB International, 2007.

The Unfulfilled Promise of Microfinance in Kenya: The KDA Experience
August 2007
Osterloh, Sharon M. and Christopher B. Barrett

“Microfinance offers promise for alleviating poverty by providing financial services to people traditionally excluded from financial markets. Small-scale loans can relieve capital constraints that might otherwise preclude cash-strapped entrepreneurs from investing in profitable businesses, while savings services can create opportunities to accumulate wealth in safe repositories and to manage risk through asset diversification. While this promise of microfinance is widely touted, it is infrequently subject to careful evaluation using detailed data. This chapter examines the extension of microfinance services to people in Kenya. Using data collected from seventeen Financial Service Associations (FSAs) founded by the Kenya Rural Enterprise Program (K-REP) Development Agency (KDA), we explore the intricacies of microfinance institutions emerging in these challenging environment...”
In Decentralization and the Social Economics of Development: Lessons from Kenya, edited by Christopher B. Barrett, Andrew G. Mude, and John M. Omiti. Wallingford, UK: CAB International, 2007.

Displaced Distortions: Financial Market Failures and Seemingly Inefficient Resource Allocation in Low-income Rural Communities
July 2007
Barrett, Christopher B.

Poor households in rural areas of the developing world commonly lack access to (formal or informal) credit or insurance. These financing constraints naturally spill over into other behaviours and (asset, factor and product) markets as households rationally exploit other market and non-market resource allocation mechanisms to resolve, at least partly, their financing problems. These displaced distortions of financing constraints commonly manifest themselves in allocative inefficiency that may lead researchers and policymakers to mistakenly conclude that poor households routinely make serious allocation errors and to direct policy interventions towards the symptoms manifest in other markets rather than towards the root financial markets failures cause.
July 2007 draft for festschrift volume in honor of Arie Kuyvenhoven
In Development Economics Between Markets and Institutions: Incentives for Growth, Food Security and Sustainable Use of the Environment, Bulte, Erwin and Ruerd Ruben, eds., Wageningen, The Netherlands: Wageningen Academic Publishers

Cognitive Skills among Children in Senegal: Disentangling the Roles of Schooling and Family Background
June 2007
Glick, Peter and David E. Sahn

We use unique data to estimate the determinants of cognitive ability among 14 to 17 year olds in Senegal. Unlike standard school-based samples, tests were administered to current students as well as to children no longer—or never—enrolled. Years of schooling strongly affects cognitive skills, but conditional on years of school, parental education and household wealth, as well as local public school quality, have surprisingly modest effects on test performance. Instead, family background primarily affects skills indirectly through its impacts on years of schooling. Therefore closing the schooling gaps between poor and wealthy children will also close most of the gap in cognitive skills between these groups.
Presented at the Regional Conference on “Education in West Africa: Constraints and Opportunities” in Dakar, Senegal, November 1-2, 2005
This is an expanded version of a paper published in Economics of Education Review 28(2): 178-188, April, 2009.

Reproductive Health and Behavior, HIV/AIDS, and Poverty in Africa
May 2007
Glick, Peter

This paper examines the complex linkages of poverty, reproductive/sexual health and behavior, and HIV/AIDS in Africa. It addresses the following questions: (1) what have we learned to date about these links and what are the gaps in knowledge to be addressed by further research; (2) what is known about the effectiveness for HIV prevention of reproductive health and HIV/AIDS interventions and policies in Africa; and (3) what are the appropriate methodological approaches to research on these questions. With regard to what has been learned so far, the paper pays considerable attention in particular to the evidence regarding the impacts of a range of HIV interventions on risk behaviors and HIV incidence. Other sections review the extensive microeconomic literature on the impacts of AIDS on households and children in Africa and the effects of the epidemic on sexual risk behavior and fertility decisions. With regard to methodology, the paper assesses the approaches used in the literature to deal with, among other things, the problem of self-selection and non- randomness in the placement of HIV and reproductive health programs. Data requirements for different research questions are discussed, and an effort is made to assess what researchers can learn from existing sources such as Demographic and Health Surveys.
Presented at the AERC/Hewlett Foundation Workshop, “Poverty and Economic Growth: The Impact of Population Dynamics and Reproductive Health Outcomes in Africa” in Brussels, Belgium, November 5-6, 2006
Forthcoming in edited volume published by the African Economic Research Consortium, Nairobi, Kenya

Changes in HIV/AIDS Knowledge and Testing Behavior in Africa: How Much and for Whom?
April 2007
Glick, Peter and David E. Sahn

Demographic and Health Survey data from six African countries indicate that HIV prevention knowledge is improving and that more Africans are getting tested. Still, in many cases fewer than half of adult respondents can identify specific prevention behaviors; knowledge appears particularly inadequate in countries not yet fully gripped by the epidemic. Schooling and wealth impacts on prevention knowledge generally have either not changed or have increased, meaning that initial disparities in knowledge by education and wealth levels have persisted or widened. HIV messages therefore need to be made more accessible to and/or better understood by the poor and less educated.
Paper prepared for the conference “African Development and Poverty Reduction: The Macro-Micro Linkage” Cape Town, South Africa October 2004
In Journal of Population Economics 20(2):383-422, April, 2007

What do we learn about social networks when we only sample individuals? Not much.
May 2008
Santos, Paulo and Christopher B. Barrett

Much of the empirical analysis of social networks is based on a sample of individuals, rather than a sample of matches between pairs of individuals. This paper asks whether that approach is useful when one wants to understand the determinants of variables that are inherently dyadic, such as relationships. After reviewing the shortcomings of the data used in the literature, we use Monte Carlo simulation to show that the answer is positive only when relationships are themselves randomly formed, a very special and uninteresting case. Additional work that supports strategies to collect dyadic data as part of surveys usually used by economists seems to be needed.

Bayesian Herders: Updating of Rainfall Beliefs In Response To External Climate Forecasts
March 2007
Lybbert, Travis J., Christoper Barrett, John G. McPeak, and Winnie K. Luseno

Temporal climate risk weighs heavily on many of the world’s poor. Model-based climate forecasts could benefit such populations, provided recipients use forecast information to update climate expectations. We test whether pastoralists in southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya update their expectations in response to forecast information. The minority of herders who received these climate forecasts updated their expectations for below normal rainfall, but not for above normal rainfall. This revealed preoccupation with downside risk highlights the potential value of better climate forecasts in averting drought-related losses, but realizing any welfare gains requires that recipients strategically react to these updated expectations.
In World Development 35(3):480-497, 2007

Epistemology, Normative Theory and Poverty Analysis: Implications for Q-Squared in Practice
February 2007
Kanbur, Ravi and Paul Shaffer

The turn to the use of mixed qualitative and quantitative (Q-Squared) methods in the analysis of poverty is a welcome development with large potential payoffs. While the benefits of mixing are not in doubt, the tensions involved in so doing have not received adequate attention. The aim of this paper is to address this gap in the “Q-Squared” literature. It argues that there are important differences between approaches to poverty which operate at the levels of epistemology and normative theory. These differences have implications for the numerical transformation of data, the selection of validity criteria, the conception/dimension of poverty adopted and interpersonal comparisons of well-being.
In World Development 35(2):183-196, 2007

Livelihood Strategies in the Rural Kenyan Highlands
December 2006
Brown, Douglas R., Emma C. Stephens, James Okuro Ouma, Festus M. Murithi and Christopher B. Barrett

The concept of a livelihood strategy has become central to development practice in recent years. Nonetheless, precise identification of livelihoods in quantitative data has remained methodologically elusive. This paper uses cluster analysis methods to operationalize the concept of livelihood strategies in household data and then uses the resulting strategy-specific income distributions to test whether hypothesized outcome differences between livelihoods indeed exist. Using data from Kenya’s central and western highlands, we identify five distinct livelihood strategies that exhibit statistically significant differences in mean per capita incomes and stochastic dominance orderings that establish clear welfare rankings among livelihood strategies. Multinomial regression analysis identifies geographic, demographic and financial determinants of livelihood choice. The results should facilitate targeting of interventions designed to improve household livelihoods.
In the African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 1(1):21-35

Labor Market Activities and Fertility
December 2006
Younger, Stephen D.

“This paper focuses on one aspect of the demographic transition, women’s labor market activity, and how it relates to the basic variables of fertility and poverty. Just as there are differences in fertility and mortality in rich and poor countries, there are differences in women’s time use. In rich countries, women tend to work outside the home, usually in wage employment on a fixed hourly schedule. In poor countries, women tend to work at home or, especially in Africa, on their family’s farm or at own- account activities where time use is more flexible. Understanding the relationship between the demographic transition and these differences in time use is our main theme...”
Presented at the AERC/Hewlett Foundation Workshop, “Poverty and Economic Growth: The Impact of Population Dynamics and Reproductive Health Outcomes in Africa” in Brussels, Belgium, November 5-6, 2006

Export Processing Zone Expansion in Madagascar: What are the Labor Market and Gender Impacts?
December 2006
Glick, Peter and François Roubaud

This paper analyzes part of the controversy over export processing zones—the labor market and gender impacts—using unique time-series labor force survey data from an African setting: urban Madagascar, in which the EPZ (or Zone Franche) grew very rapidly during the 1990s. Employment in the Zone Franche exhibits some basic patterns seen elsewhere in export processing industries of the developing world, such as the predominance of young, semi-skilled female workers. Taking advantage of microdata availability, we estimate earnings regressions to assess sector and gender wage premia. Zone Franche employment is found to represent a significant step up in pay for women who would otherwise be found in poorly remunerated informal sector work. Because it provides relatively high wage opportunities for those with relatively low levels of schooling, export processing development may also eventually have significant impacts on poverty. Further, by disproportionately drawing women from the low-wage sector informal sector (where the gender pay gap is very large) to the relatively well-paid export processing jobs (where pay is not only higher but also similar for men and women with similar qualifications), the EPZ has the potential to contribute to improved overall gender equity in earnings in the urban economy. Along many non-wage dimensions, jobs in the export processing zone are comparable to or even superior to other parts of the formal sector. However, the sector is also marked by very long working hours and high turnover, which may work to prevent it from being a source of long-term employment and economic advancement for women.
Paper prepared for the conference “African Development and Poverty Reduction: The Macro-Micro Linkage” Cape Town, South Africa October 2004
In Journal of African Economies 15(4): 722-756, 2006

Agricultural Policy Impact Analysis: A Seasonal Multi-Market Model for Madagascar
December 2006
Stifel, David C. and Jean-Claude Randrianarisoa

We describe the main features and results of a multi-market model for Madagascar that focuses on income generating activities in an agricultural sector that is characterized by seasonal variability. We find evidence that investments in rural infrastructure and commercial food storage have both direct and indirect benefits on poor households.
In Journal of Policy Modeling 28(9):1023-1027, 2006

The Complex Dynamics of Smallholder Technology Adoption: The Case of SRI in Madagascar
November 2006
Moser, Christine M. and Christopher B. Barrett

This paper explores the dynamics of smallholder technology adoption, with particular reference to a high-yielding, low-external input rice production method in Madagascar. We present a simple model of technology adoption by farm households in an environment of incomplete financial and land markets. We then use a probit model and symmetrically censored least squares estimation of a dynamic Tobit model to analyze the decisions to adopt, expand and disadopt the method. We find that seasonal liquidity constraints discourage adoption by poorer farmers. Learning effects—both from extension agents and from other farmers—exert significant influence over adoption decisions.
In Agricultural Economics 35(3):373-388, 2006.

An Assessment of Changes in Infant and under-Five Mortality in Demographic and Health Survey Data for Madagascar
September 2006
Glick, Peter, Stephen D. Younger, and David E. Sahn

Repeated rounds of nationally representative surveys are an important source of information on changes in the welfare of the population. In particular, policymakers and donors in many developing countries rely heavily on the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) to provide information on levels and trends in indicators of the health status of the population, including child survival. The reliability of observed trends, however, depends strongly on the comparability across survey rounds of the sampling strategy and of the format of questions and how interviews ask them. In Madagascar, the most recent (2003/4) DHS indicated very sharp declines in rates of infant and under-five mortality compared with the previous survey from 1997. However, retrospective under-one and under-five mortality data in 1997 and 2003/4 for the same calendar years also show large differences, suggesting that this trend may be spurious. We employ a range of descriptive and multivariate approaches to investigate the issue. Despite evidence of significant interviewer recording errors (with respect to date of birth and age at death) in 2003/4, the most likely source of problems is that the two samples differ: comparisons of time-invariant characteristics of households and of women suggests that the later DHS sampled a somewhat wealthier (hence lower mortality) population. Corrections to the data using hazard survival model estimates are discussed. These suggest a much more modest reduction in infant and under-five mortality than indicated by the raw data for the two surveys.

Heterogeneous Wealth Dynamics: On the Roles of Risk and Ability
June 2006
Santos, Paulo and Christopher B. Barrett

This paper studies the causal mechanisms behind poverty traps, building on evidence of nonlinear wealth dynamics among a poor pastoralist population, the Boran from southern Ethiopia. In particular, it explores the roles of adverse weather shocks and individual ability to cope with such shocks in conditioning wealth dynamics. Using original data, we establish pastoralists’ expectations of herd dynamics and show both that pastoralists perceive the nonlinear long-term dynamics that characterize livestock wealth in the region and that this pattern results from adverse weather shocks. We estimate a stochastic herd growth frontier that yields herder-specific estimates of unobservable ability on which we then condition our simulations of wealth dynamics. We find that those with lower ability converge to a unique dynamic equilibrium at a small herd size, while those with higher ability exhibit multiple stable dynamic wealth equilibria. Our results underscore the criticality of asset protection against exogenous shocks in order to facilitate wealth accumulation and economic growth and the importance of incorporating indicators of ability in the targeting of asset transfers, as we demonstrate with simulations of alternative asset transfer designs.
Presented at the Policy Research Conference on “Pastoralism and Poverty Reduction in East Africa,” held in Nairobi, Kenya, June 27-28, 2006.

An Ordered Tobit of Market Participation: Evidence from Kenya and Ethiopia
May 2006
Bellemare, Marc F. and Barrett, Christopher B.

Do rural households in developing countries make market participation and volume decisions simultaneously or sequentially? This article develops a two-stage econometric model that allows testing between these two competing hypotheses regarding household-level market behavior. The first stage models the household’s choice of whether to be a net buyer, autarkic, or a net seller in the market. The second stage models the quantity bought (sold) for net buyers (sellers) based on observable household characteristics. Using household data from Kenya and Ethiopia on livestock markets, we find evidence in favor of sequential decision-making, the welfare implications of which we discuss.
In American Journal of Agricultural Economics 88(2):324-337, May, 2006

Robust Multidimensional Spatial Poverty Comparisons in Ghana, Madagascar, and Uganda
April 2006
Duclos, Jean-Yves, David E. Sahn, and Stephen D. Younger

We investigate spatial poverty comparisons in three African countries using multidimensional indicators of well-being. The work is analogous to the univariate stochastic dominance literature in that we seek poverty orderings that are robust to the choice of multidimensional poverty lines and indices. In addition, we wish to ensure that our comparisons are robust to aggregation procedures for multiple welfare variables. In contrast to earlier work, our methodology applies equally well to what can be defined as "union", "intersection," or "intermediate" approaches to dealing with multidimensional indicators of well-being. Further, unlike much of the stochastic dominance literature, we compute the sampling distributions of our poverty estimators in order to perform statistical tests of the difference in poverty measures. We apply our methods to two measures of well-being, the log of household expenditures per capita and children’s height-for-age z-scores, using data from the 1988 Ghana Living Standards Survey, the 1993 Enquête Permanente auprès des Ménages in Madagascar, and the 1999 National Household Survey in Uganda. Bivariate poverty comparisons are at odds with univariate comparisons in several interesting ways. Most importantly, we cannot always conclude that poverty is lower in urban areas from one region compared to rural areas in another, even though univariate comparisons based on household expenditures per capita almost always lead to that conclusion.
In World Bank Economic Review 20(1):91-113

The Demand for Primary Schooling in Madagascar: Price, Quality, and the Choice Between Public and Private Providers
February 2006
Glick, Peter, and David E. Sahn

We estimate a discrete choice model of primary schooling and simulate policy alternatives for rural Madagascar. Poor households are substantially more price-responsive than wealthy ones, implying that fee increases for public schools will have negative effects on equity in education. Among quality factors, multigrade teaching (several classes being taught simultaneously by one teacher) has a strongly negative impact on public school enrollments. Simulations indicate that providing teachers to reduce by half the number of multigrade classes in public schools would lead to modest improvements in overall enrollments, would be feasible in terms of costs, and would disproportionately benefit poor children. In contrast, consolidation of primary schools combined with quality improvement would be ineffective because of the negative effect of distance to school. Other simulations point to limits to a strategy of public support for private school expansion as a means of significantly increasing enrollment rates or education quality; such an expansion may also reduce overall education equity.
In the Journal of Development Economics 79(1):118-145, 2006.

Understanding and Reducing Persistent Poverty in Africa
February 2006
Barrett, Christopher B., Michael R. Carter and Peter D. Little

This paper introduces a special issue exploring persistent poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. As a set, these papers break new ground in exploring the dynamics of structural poverty, integrating qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis and adopting an asset-based approach to the study of changes in well-being, especially in response to a wide range of different (climatic, health, political, and other) shocks. In this introductory essay, we frame these studies, building directly on evolving conceptualisations of poverty in Africa.
In Journal of Development Studies 42(2): 167-177, lead article
In Understanding and Reducing Persistent Poverty in Africa, Christopher Barrett, Peter Little, Michael Carter (eds.), Routledge, 2007.

The Economics of Poverty Traps and Persistent Poverty: An Asset-Based Approach
February 2006
Carter, Michael R. and Christopher B. Barrett

Longitudinal data on household living standards open the way to a deeper analysis of the nature and extent of poverty. While a number of studies have exploited this type of data to distinguish transitory from more chronic forms of income or expenditure poverty, this paper develops an asset-based approach to poverty analysis that makes it possible to distinguish deep-rooted, persistent structural poverty from poverty that passes naturally with time due to systemic growth processes. Drawing on the economic theory of poverty traps and bifurcated accumulation strategies, this paper briefly discusses some feasible estimation strategies for empirically identifying poverty traps and long term, persistent structural poverty. We also propose an extension of the Foster-Greer-Thorbecke class of poverty measures to provide a natural measure of long-term welfare status. The paper closes with reflections on how asset-based poverty can be used to underwrite the design of persistent poverty reduction strategies.
In Journal of Development Studies 42(2):178-199, 2006
In Understanding and Reducing Persistent Poverty in Africa, Christopher Barrett, Peter Little, Michael Carter (eds.), Routledge, 2007.

‘Moving in Place’: Drought and Poverty Dynamics in South Wollo, Ethiopia
February 2006
Little, Peter D., Priscilla Stone, Tewodaj Mogues, Peter Castro, and Workneh Negatu

This article discusses the impact of drought on poverty dynamics in the South Wollo area of northeastern Ethiopia. Using both survey and anthropological/qualitative data covering a six-year period, the paper assesses which households were able to hold on to assets and recover from the 1999-2000 drought and which were not. It suggests that while the incidence of poverty changed very little during 1997 to 2003 despite the occurrence of a major drought, the fortunes of the poorest improved, but not enough to keep them from poverty. The study concludes by asking how current policies affect patterns of poverty and inequality and what might be done to improve welfare in South Wollo.
In Journal of Development Studies 42(2):200-225, 2006
In Understanding and Reducing Persistent Poverty in Africa, Christopher Barrett, Peter Little, Michael Carter (eds.), Routledge, 2007.

Exploring Poverty Traps and Social Exclusion in South Africa Using Qualitative and Quantitative Data
February 2006
Adato, Michelle, Michael R. Carter, and Julian May

Recent theoretical work hypothesises that a polarised society like South Africa will suffer a legacy of ineffective social capital and blocked pathways of upward mobility that leaves large numbers of people trapped in poverty. To explore these ideas, this paper employs a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods. Novel econometric analysis of asset dynamics over the 1993-98 period identifies a dynamic asset poverty threshold that signals that large numbers of South Africans are indeed trapped without a pathway out of poverty. Qualitative analysis of this period and the period 1998-2001 more deeply examines patterns of mobility, and confirms the continuation of this pattern of limited upward mobility and a low-level poverty trap. In addition, the qualitative data permit a closer look at the specific role played by social relationships. While finding ample evidence of active social capital and networks, these are more helpful for non-poor households. For the poor, social capital at best helps stabilise livelihoods at low levels and does little to promote upward mobility. While there is thus some economic sense to sociability in South Africa, elimination of the polarised economic legacy of apartheid will ultimately require more proactive efforts to assure that households have access to a minimum bundle of assets and to the markets needed to effectively build on those assets over time.
In Journal of Development Studies 42(2):226-247, 2006
In Understanding and Reducing Persistent Poverty in Africa, Christopher Barrett, Peter Little, Michael Carter (eds.), Routledge, 2007.

Welfare Dynamics in Rural Kenya and Madagascar
February 2006
Barrett, Christopher B., Paswel Phiri Marenya, John McPeak, Bart Minten, Festus Murithi, Willis Oluoch-Kosura, Frank Place, Jean Claude Randrianarisoa, Jhon Rasambainarivo and Justine Wangila

This paper presents comparative qualitative and quantitative evidence from rural Kenya and Madagascar in an attempt to untangle the causality behind persistent poverty. We find striking differences in welfare dynamics depending on whether one uses total income, including stochastic terms and inevitable measurement error, or the predictable, structural component of income based on a household’s asset holdings. Our results suggest the existence of multiple dynamic asset and structural income equilibria, consistent with the poverty traps hypothesis. Furthermore, we find supporting evidence of locally increasing returns to assets and of risk management behaviour consistent with poor households' defence of a critical asset threshold through asset smoothing.
In Journal of Development Studies 42(2): 248-277, 2006
In Understanding and Reducing Persistent Poverty in Africa, Christopher Barrett, Peter Little, Michael Carter (eds.), Routledge, 2007.

Persistent Poverty in North East Ghana
February 2006
Whitehead, Ann

This paper explores local poverty and wealth inequality in the Upper East Region of northern Ghana in the period from 1975-89. Land was not scarce and the social management of household membership and household labour were critical to household security, but this social management was not independent of wealth status. There was a virtuous circle between wealth and household labour supply and a vicious circle between poverty and small household size. Poverty traps existed so that those with too little labour and too little wealth engaged in strategies which entrenched them in poverty.
In Journal of Development Studies 42(2): 248-277, 2006
In Understanding and Reducing Persistent Poverty in Africa, Christopher Barrett, Peter Little, Michael Carter (eds.), Routledge, 2007.

Shocks and Their Consequences Across and Within Households in Rural Zimbabwe
February 2006
Hoddinott, John

Increasing attention is now being paid to poverty dynamics in developing countries. This work links the extent to which households smooth consumption or smooth assets given income shocks, the empirical evidence on the churning of households in and out of poverty, and the possibility that temporary shocks can have permanent consequences. Using longitudinal data from rural Zimbabwe, this paper extends the discussion of these issues by disaggregating the impact of shocks by levels of asset holdings, by disaggregating the impact of shocks on individual level welfare and by assessing the extent to which such shocks have permanent consequences. By doing so, it assesses the validity of distinguishing between asset and consumption smoothing and provides insights into whether poverty dynamics assessed at the household level provide an adequate picture of dynamics at the individual level.
In Journal of Development Studies 42(2): 301-321, 2006
In Understanding and Reducing Persistent Poverty in Africa, Christopher Barrett, Peter Little, Michael Carter (eds.), Routledge, 2007.

Rural Income and Poverty in a Time of Radical Change in Malawi
February 2006
Peters, Pauline E.

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in Africa. There is widespread, though not universal, agreement about the shape of poverty in the country and the policy challenge this sets. Agriculture continues to be the most obvious means to stimulate broad-based rural growth and to provide levels of food security and income needed for the majority rural population. A longitudinal study over a decade during which radical policy and political changes occurred provides the data and basis for discussing the appropriate policy directions for reducing poverty.
In Journal of Development Studies 42(2): 322-345, 2006
In Understanding and Reducing Persistent Poverty in Africa, Christopher Barrett, Peter Little, Michael Carter (eds.), Routledge, 2007.

Escaping Poverty and Becoming Poor in 36 Villages of Central and Western Uganda
February 2006
Krishna, Anirudh, Daniel Lumonya, Milissa Markiewicz, Firminus Mugumya, Agatha Kafuko, Jonah Wegoye

Twenty-four per cent of households in 36 village communities of Central and Western Uganda have escaped from poverty over the past 25 years, but another 15 per cent have simultaneously fallen into poverty. A roughly equal number of households escaped from poverty in the first period (ten to 25 years ago) as in the second period (the last ten years) examined here. However, almost twice as many households fell into poverty during the second period as in the first period. Progress in poverty reduction has slowed down as a result. Multiple causes are associated with descent into poverty and these causes vary significantly between villages in the two different regions. For nearly two-thirds of all households in both regions, however, ill health and health-related costs were a principal reason for descent into poverty. Escaping poverty is also associated with diverse causes, which vary across the two regions. Compared to increases in urban employment, however, land-related reasons have been more important for escaping poverty in both regions.
In Journal of Development Studies 42(2): 346-370, 2006
In Understanding and Reducing Persistent Poverty in Africa, Christopher Barrett, Peter Little, Michael Carter (eds.), Routledge, 2007.

Fractal Poverty Traps
January 2006
Barrett, Christopher B. and Brent M. Swallow

This paper offers an informal theory of a special sort of poverty trap, one in which multiple dynamic equilibria exist simultaneously at multiple (micro, meso and/or macro) scales of analysis and are self-reinforcing through feedback effects. Small adjustments at any one of these levels are unlikely to move the system away from its dominant, stable dynamic equilibrium. Governments, markets and communities are simultaneously weak in places characterized by fractal poverty traps. No unit operates at a high-level equilibrium in such a system. All seem simultaneously trapped in low-level equilibria. The fractal poverty traps formulation suggests four interrelated strategic emphases for poverty reduction strategies.
In World Development 34(1):1-15, 2006

Poverty and Well-Being in Post-Apartheid South Africa
January 2006
Bhorat, Haroon and Ravi Kanbur

“The end of the first decade of democracy in South Africa naturally resulted in a wide-ranging set of political events to mark this date. South Africa’s formal baptism as a democracy in April 1994 received international acclaim and recognition — and to this day serves a model for other countries undergoing difficult and protracted political transitions. However, perhaps the greatest struggle since the early post-apartheid days has been the attempt to undo the economic vestiges of the system of racial exclusivity. Alongside the political evaluation and praise, therefore, there has been a vigorous local research programme broadly aimed at measuring the changes in well-being that occurred during this ten-year period. In addition, a number of studies have also concentrated on measuring the performance of the government in meeting its stated objectives of reducing poverty, inequality and unemployment. This volume brings together some of the core pieces of academic research that have been prominent in this ten-year review, focusing on poverty and policy in post-apartheid South Africa...”
Introduction to Poverty and Policy in Post-Apartheid South Africa, edited by Haroon Bhorat and Ravi Kanbur. Cape Town, South Africa: HSRC Press, 2006.

Rice Price Stabilization in Madagascar: Price and Welfare Implications of Variable Tariffs
November 2005
Dorosh, Paul and Bart Minten

Given the large share of major staples in the budgets of the poor, governments in many developing countries intervene in food markets to limit variation in the prices of staple foods. This paper examines the recent experience of Madagascar in stabilizing prices through international trade and the implications of adjustments in tariff rates. Using a partial equilibrium model, we quantify the overall costs and benefits of a change in import duties for various household groups, and compare this intervention to a policy of targeted food transfers or security stocks.

Measuring Recent Changes in South African Inequality and Poverty Using 1996 and 2001 Census Data
October 2005
Leibbrandt, Murray, Laura Poswell, Pranushka Naidoo, and Matthew Welch

The paper analyses poverty and inequality changes in South Africa for the period 1996 to 2001 using Census data. To gain a broader picture of wellbeing in South Africa, both income-based and access-based measurement approaches are employed. At the national level, findings from the income-based approach show that inequality has unambiguously increased from 1996 to 2001. As regards population group inequality, within-group inequality has increased; while between-group inequality has decreased (inequality has also increased in each province and across the rural/urban divide). The poverty analysis reveals that poverty has worsened in the nation, particularly for Africans. Provincially, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo have the highest poverty rates while the Western Cape and Gauteng have the lowest poverty rates. Poverty differs across the urban-rural divide with rural areas being relatively worse off than urban areas. However, due to the large extent of rural-urban migration, the proportion of the poor in rural areas is declining. The access-based approach focuses on type of dwelling, access to water, energy for lighting, energy for cooking, sanitation and refuse removal. The data reveal significant improvements in these access measures between 1996 and 2001. The proportion of households occupying traditional dwellings has decreased while the proportion of households occupying formal dwellings has risen slightly (approximately two-thirds of households occupy formal dwellings). Access to basic services has improved, especially with regard to access to electricity for lighting and access to telephones. On a provincial level, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape display the poorest performance in terms of access to basic services. The paper concludes by contrasting the measured changes in well being that emerge from the income and access approaches. While income measures show worsening well being via increases in income poverty and inequality, access measures show that well being in South Africa has improved in a number of important dimensions.
In Poverty and Policy in Post Apartheid South Africa, edited by Haroon Bhorat and Ravi Kanbur. Cape Town, South Africa: HSRC Press, 2006.

Does City Structure Cause Unemployment? The Case Study of Cape Town
October 2005
Rospabe, Sandrine and Harris Selod

Several theoretical and empirical findings suggest that the spatial organization of cities can be a source of unemployment among unskilled workers and ethnic minorities, stressing either the role of residential segregation or that of the physical disconnection between work and residence. The present paper investigates this issue in South Africa by focusing on the example of Cape Town, a sprawling and highly segregated city. Using the dataset of the 1998 study on the Migration and Settlement in the Cape Metropolitan Area complemented by local population statistics extracted from the 1996 Census and local employment statistics extracted from the City of Cape Town’s 2000 RSC Levy database, we regress the unemployment probability of a selection of workers in 24 different areas of the city on their individual and household attributes as well as on the characteristics of their locations. Results obtained so far suggest that (i) distance to jobs, (ii) rural origin (especially for women) and (iii) the length of time spent in their present dwelling reduce the employment probability of workers.
In Poverty and Policy in Post Apartheid South Africa, edited by Haroon Bhorat and Ravi Kanbur. Cape Town, South Africa: HSRC Press, 2006.

Half Measures: The ANC’s Unemployment and Poverty Reduction Goals
October 2005
Meth, Charles

This paper looks behind the [ANC’s 2004 election] manifesto at policy and other documents in an attempt to discover what the ANC in government understands by these commitments. Finding little evidence of a coherent view there, the paper delves into unemployment and poverty statistics in South Africa in an attempt to see whether or not greater precision than that displayed so far in specifying each of these targets, is possible. In each case, the search for precision opens a window overlooking an impressively wide plain of ignorance. In view of this, the paper ends with some recommendations about what to do about the two commitments.
In in Post Apartheid South Africa, edited by Haroon Bhorat and Ravi Kanbur. Cape Town, South Africa: HSRC Press, 2006.

Internal Labour Migration and Household Poverty in Post-Apartheid South Africa
October 2005
Posel, Dorrit and Daniela Casale

The first objective of this chapter is to briefly describe and discuss trends in labour migration over the period 1993 to 2002 using these household survey data. We show that a growing number of rural African households report labour migrants as (non-resident) household members and we discuss possible reasons why individuals may continue to migrate temporarily to places of employment. Our second objective is to explore the economic status of those who remain behind in the household of origin. We find that total household income on average is significantly and consistently lower in migrant, than in non-migrant, households. Remittance transfers are a more important source of income than the earnings of employed resident members in migrant households. Since 1993, however, both the receipt and the average real value of remittance income have fallen. We conclude our study with a discussion of factors that may account for this trend and the possible development implications of migration for rural African households.
In Poverty and Policy in Post Apartheid South Africa, edited by Haroon Bhorat and Ravi Kanbur. Cape Town, South Africa: HSRC Press, 2006.

Crime and Local Inequality in South Africa
October 2005
Demombynes, Gabriel and Berk Özler

We examine the effects of local inequality on property and violent crime in South Africa. The findings are consistent with economic theories relating local inequality to property crime and also with sociological theories that imply that inequality leads to crime in general. Burglary rates are 25-43% higher in police precincts that are the wealthiest among their neighbors, suggesting that criminals travel to neighborhoods where the expected returns from burglary are highest. Finally, while we find little evidence that inequality between racial groups fosters interpersonal conflict at the local level, racial heterogeneity itself is highly correlated with crime.
In Poverty and Policy in Post Apartheid South Africa, edited by Haroon Bhorat and Ravi Kanbur. Cape Town, South Africa: HSRC Press, 2006.

Public Spending and the Poor Since the Transition to Democracy
October 2005
van der Berg, Servaas

Fiscal expenditure analysis, or benefit incidence analysis, as it is often referred to, deals with the distribution of the statutory incidence of public expenditure, usually by income group, although some studies incorporate geographic or even gender dimensions. (Demery n.d.) This is the topic dealt with in this chapter, although the South African situation requires that incidence analysis along racial grounds should also be considered. The chapter addresses a number of interrelated questions, relating to targeting of, and shifts in, public social spending, but also to the capacity to transform social spending into social outcomes.
In Poverty and Policy in Post Apartheid South Africa, edited by Haroon Bhorat and Ravi Kanbur. Cape Town, South Africa: HSRC Press, 2006.

Poverty and Inequality in Post-Apartheid South Africa: 1995-2000
October 2005
Hoogeveen, Johannes G. and Berk Özler

As South Africa conducts a review of the first ten years of its new democracy, the question remains as to whether the economic inequalities of the apartheid era are beginning to fade. Using new, comparable consumption aggregates for 1995 and 2000, this paper finds that real per capita household expenditures declined for those at the bottom end of the expenditure distribution during this period of low GDP growth. As a result, poverty, especially extreme poverty, increased. Inequality also increased, mainly due to a jump in inequality among the African population. Even among subgroups of the population that experienced healthy consumption growth, such as the Coloureds, the rate of poverty reduction was low because the distributional shifts were not pro-poor.
In Poverty and Policy in Post Apartheid South Africa, edited by Haroon Bhorat and Ravi Kanbur. Cape Town, South Africa: HSRC Press, 2006.

Poverty, Asset Accumulation and Shocks in South Africa: Evidence from KwaZulu-Natal
October 2005
May, Julian

Although their use has become widespread, approaches to poverty measurement such as the FGT class of measures discussed by Woolard and Leibbrandt et al (2000:60-67) for South Africa are necessarily static in nature. Such measurement regards poverty is a deficiency, measured in terms of the proportion of the population who are categorised as poor, or perhaps more usefully, in terms of the distance that separates those that are poor from the least well-off of the non-poor: the individual or household whose income is exactly equal to the poverty line. From the perspective of policy, poverty becomes a circumstance to be resolved by appropriately targeted transfers rather than the outcome of social and economic structures: a poverty that is ‘produced’ or in the language of some analysts, a poverty that is ‘perpetrated’ (Øyen, 2002). Beyond the identification of possible target groups and some of the ways in which poverty is experienced, those factors which lead to the production, reproduction and persistence of poverty are concealed. As a result, little can be offered in the way of concrete issues for strategy in a country such as South Africa where the legacy of past policies continues to burden efforts to reduce poverty. While a comparatively new literature on poverty transitions offers some solutions to this shortcoming through its focus on chronic versus transitory poverty, such analysis still does not identify those who are structurally mobile from those who may be in poverty trap. However, merging elements of Sen’s entitlement approach with the economic theory of the household in imperfect market environments, Carter and May (2001) present non-parametric estimates of the mapping between household assets and poverty. This paper builds on their analysis of to identify an alternative categorisation of poverty using panel data collected in 1993 and again in 1998 in KwaZulu-Natal. The paper goes further to describe the shocks that result in persistent poverty and the characteristics of those in different dynamic poverty categories in terms of the assets that might eventually lead to their mobility. This draws out some important themes for poverty reduction including redistributive strategies and microeconomic reform.
In Poverty and Policy in Post Apartheid South Africa, edited by Haroon Bhorat and Ravi Kanbur. Cape Town, South Africa: HSRC Press, 2006.

Trade Liberalisation and Labour Demand in South Africa during the 1990s
October 2005
Edwards, Lawrence

The 1990s heralded a period of increased globalization of the South African economy. The new democratically elected government in 1994 initiated a range of new policy reforms that were designed to encourage economic growth as well as uplift the standard of living of the previously disenfranchised majority. These reforms included significant tariff reductions in accordance with the government’s 1995 Offer to the WTO. A new macroeconomic policy (GEAR) was also implemented with the aim of transforming South Africa into a “competitive, outward orientated economy” (GEAR, 1996)...
In Poverty and Policy in Post Apartheid South Africa, edited by Haroon Bhorat and Ravi Kanbur. Cape Town, South Africa: HSRC Press, 2006.

The Relative Inflation Experience of Poor Urban South African Households: 1997-2002
October 2005
Bhorat, Haroon and Oosthuizen, Morné

Much work has been done in South Africa on the relationship between the labour market and household poverty, as well as more generally the association of differentially sourced incomes to household poverty and inequality. The notion is that it is access to incomes, or lack thereof, which lies at the heart of characterising inequality and poverty in the society. Clearly though, a critical intermediary to income access remains the fluctuations in the real values of these incomes, despite controlling for access to income. This line of enquiry – namely the role of relative final price movements in affecting households across the income distribution –is a new one for the post-apartheid period, with its local intellectual origins lying in Kahn (1985). At one level the study aims to identify and quantify the impact of relative price movements on household poverty levels, with a key aim being to identify those products that are critical to indigent households’ vulnerability. At a more generic level, the paper is implicitly a representation of how the macroeconomic environment is able to, and indeed does, impact on household welfare. Ultimately, the paper hopes to deliver a detailed analysis not only of the construction of an appropriate consumer price index for South Africa, but also, through the use of income and expenditure survey data, the impact of reported price movements on inflation for households at different points in the national income distribution. Specifically, this study’s two main objectives are, firstly, to derive inflation rates for urban households grouped according to expenditure deciles and, secondly, to identify some of the key product categories responsible for the largest shares of inflation of the poorest 40% of urban households.

From Chimera to Prospect: South African Sources of and Constraints on Long-term Growth
October 2005
Fedderke, Johannes

In this paper we consider the implications of evidence that has emerged over the past six years that carries insight into the growth and employment creation performance of the South African economy. The emphasis is explicitly on why limitation in the growth performance of the South African economy may have emerged.
In Poverty and Policy in Post Apartheid South Africa, edited by Haroon Bhorat and Ravi Kanbur. Cape Town, South Africa: HSRC Press, 2006.

Decentralization and Access to Agricultural Extension Services in Kenya
October 2005
Nambiro, Elizabeth, John Omiti, and Lawrence Mugunieri

The form and content of decentralization has dominated development discourse and public sector reform agenda in Kenya in the last two decades. The case of agricultural extension service presents decentralization in a difficult context partly due to lack of information on its possible diverse impacts especially on resource poor farmers. This paper explores the effect of decentralization of agricultural extension on access, accountability and empowerment, and efficiency of delivering services to farmers. Secondary data, participatory research methods and primary data from a random sample of 250 farmers were used. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, multivariate analysis and logistic regression. The results show that there is improved access to extension services with increasing level of decentralization. Farmers from areas with higher decentralized extension also showed enhanced level of awareness of different channels for delivery of extension services. This improved knowledge, being an important component of empowerment of the farming community, resulted from the increase of service providers, who displayed synergy in their multiple methods of operation. Public delivery channels were the most affordable and were also ranked first for quality. Income, literacy levels, distance from towns and access to telephone significantly influenced access to extension services. Gender of the household-head was a key determinant for seeking out extension services in areas with high concentration of agricultural activities. For a pluralistic system to work, there is need to for better co-ordination between the various groups. Although there is evidence of partnership and synergy between service providers, there appeared to be little effective co-ordination of the groups involved. The government, and other stakeholders should work towards developing a strong institutional framework that will guide and enhance this mutually beneficial partnership.

Reforming the Formula: A Modest Proposal for Introducing Development Outcomes in IDA Allocation Procedures
September 2005
Kanbur, Ravi

This paper develops a modest proposal for introducing final outcome indicators in the IDA aid allocation formula. It starts with a review of the current formula and the rationale for it. It is argued that this formula, and in particular the Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) part of it, implicitly relies too heavily on a uniform model of what works in development policy. Even if this model were valid "on average", the variations around the average make it an unreliable sole guide to the country-specific productivity of aid in achieving the final objectives of development. Rather, it is argued that changes in the actual outcomes on these final objectives could also be used as part of the allocation formula. A number of conceptual and operational objections to this position are considered and debated. The paper concludes that there is much to be gained by taking small steps in the direction of introducing outcome variables in the IDA formula, and assessing the experience of doing so in a few years’ time.
In Revue d’Economie du Developpement: 2005/2-3 September, Special Issue on Grounds, Allocation and Impact of Aid, AFD/EUDN Conference 2004, pp. 79-99, pp. 79-99

Supermarkets, International Trade and Farmers in Developing Countries: Evidence from Madagascar
September 2005
Minten, Bart, Lalaina Randrianarison, and Johan F. M. Swinnen

Global retail companies (“supermarkets”) have an increasing influence on developing countries, through foreign investments and/or through the imposition of their private standards. The impact on developing countries and poverty is often assessed as negative. In this paper we show the opposite, based on an analysis of primary data collected to measure the impact of supermarkets on small contract farmers in Madagascar, one of the poorest countries in the world. Almost 10,000 farmers in the Highlands of Madagascar produce vegetables for supermarkets in Europe. In this global supply chain, small farmers’ micro-contracts are combined with extensive farm assistance and supervision programs to fulfill complex quality requirements and phyto-sanitary standards of supermarkets. Small farmers that participate in these contracts have higher welfare, more income stability and shorter lean periods. We also find significant effects on improved technology adoption, better resource management and spillovers on the productivity of the staple crop rice. The small but emerging modern retail sector in Madagascar does not (yet) deliver these benefits as they do not (yet) request the same high standards for their supplies.

Improvements in Children’s Health: Does Inequality Matter?
August 2005
Sahn, David E. and Stephen D. Younger

The literature on the contributions to poverty reduction of average improvements in living standards vs. distributional changes uses only one measure of well-being – income or expenditure. Given that poverty is defined by deprivation over different dimensions, we explore the role of average improvements and distributional changes in children’s health and nutrition using the height of young children as our measure of well-being. Similar to the income literature, we find that shifts in the mean level of heights, not changes in distribution, account for most improvements in heights. Unlike the literature on income inequality, however, there is a positive association between improvements in average heights and reduced dispersion of those heights.
In The Journal of Economic Inequality 3(2):125-143, 2005.

Scaling up HIV Voluntary Counseling and Testing in Africa: What Can Evaluation Studies Tell Us About Potential Prevention Impacts?
August 2005
Glick, Peter

Although there is a widespread belief that scaling up HIV voluntary testing and counseling (VCT) programs in Africa will have large prevention benefits through reductions in risk behaviors, these claims are difficult to establish from existing evaluations of VCT. Considerations from behavioral models and the available data suggest that as VCT coverage expands marginal program effects are likely to decline due to changes in the degree of client selectivity, and that potential uptake among those at highest risk is uncertain. The paper also assesses two other common perceptions about VCT in Africa: that a policy of promoting couples-oriented VCT would be more successful than one emphasizing individual testing, and that VCT demand and prevention impacts will be enhanced where scaling up is accompanied by the provision of anti-retroviral drugs.
In Evaluation Review 29(4): 331-357, August 2005

Children’s Health Status in Uganda
July 2005
Bahiigwa, Godfrey and Stephen D. Younger

This paper studies trends and determinants of children's standardized heights, a good overall measure of children's health status, in Uganda over the 1990s. During this period, Uganda made impressive strides in economic growth and poverty reduction (Appleton, 2001). However, there is concern that improvements in other dimensions of well-being, especially health, has been much weaker.
We find that several policy variables are important determinants of children's heights. Most importantly, a broad package of basic health care services has a large statistically significant effect. Provision of some of these services, especially vaccinations, appears to have faltered in the late 1990s, which may help to explain the lackluster performance on stunting during that period. We also find that civil conflict, a persistent problem in some areas of the country, has an important (negative) impact on children's heights. Better educated mothers have taller children, but the only substantial impact is for children of mothers who have completed secondary school. Finally, we find that households that rely more on own-production sources of income tend to have more malnourished children, even after controlling for their overall level of income and a host of other factors. This latter conclusion is supportive of the Plan for Modernization of Agriculture, which aims to shift farmers from subsistence to commercial agriculture or other more productive activities.

Food Aid Targeting, Shocks and Private Transfers Among East African Pastoralists
July 2005
Lentz, Erin and Christopher B. Barrett

Public transfers of food aid are intended largely to support vulnerable populations in times of stress. We use high frequency panel data among Ethiopian and Kenyan pastoralists to test the efficacy of food aid targeting under three different targeting modalities, food aid’s responsiveness to different types of covariate shocks, and its relationship to private transfers. We find that, in this region, self-targeting food-for-work or indicatortargeted free food distribution more effectively reach the poor than do food aid distributed according to community-based targeting. Food aid flows do not respond significantly to either covariate, community-level income or asset shocks. Rather, food aid flows appear to respond mainly to more readily observable rainfall measures. Finally, food aid does not appear to affect private transfers in any meaningful way, either by crowding out private gifts to recipient households nor by stimulating increased gifts by food aid recipients.

Getting the Inputs Right for Improved Agricultural Productivity in Madagascar, Which Inputs Matter and Are the Poor Different?
June 2005
Randrianarisoa, Claude and Bart Minten

We found that while farmers are willing to pay for improved irrigation infrastructure through water use associations, the amounts they are willing to contribute are significantly below the costs – and significantly below international standards – and this especially so for the poorest farmers. For chemical fertilizer, a more rational structuring of the fertilizer supply chain, with clear and consistent market signals, might help at least the more accessible regions to more readily adopt this input.
Paper presented during the workshop “Agricultural and Poverty in Eastern Africa,” June, 2005, World Bank, Washington D.C.

Risk and Asset Management in the Presence of Poverty Traps: Implications for Growth and Social Protection
June 2005
Barrett, Christopher B. and Michael R. Carter

This note suggests a behavioral approach to poverty and vulnerability that escapes the standard, troublesome dependence on an arbitrary money-metric poverty line. More importantly, our approach, which is based on an empirically estimable dynamic asset poverty threshold, has immediate implications for both the linkage between poverty, risk and growth and for the design of social protection policies. One can identify the dynamic asset poverty threshold either by testing for asset smoothing behavior or via tests for bifurcated/split accumulation dynamics. We illustrate the concept and the estimation of dynamic asset poverty thresholds through brief applications to Ethiopia and Honduras.

Poverty Traps and Safety Nets
April 2005
Barrett, Christopher B. and John G. McPeak

This paper uses data from northern Kenya to argue that the concept of poverty traps needs to be taken seriously, and that if poverty traps indeed exist, then safety nets become all the more important. However, as presently practiced, safety nets based on food aid appear to be failing in northern Kenya.
In Poverty, Inequality and Development: Essays in Honor of Erik Thorbecke, Alain de Janvry and Ravi Kanbur, eds., Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2005

Costs and Financing of Basic Education and Participation of Rural Families and Communities in Third-World Countries
April 2005
Assié-Lumumba, N’Dri

This paper focuses on the various types of educational costs, expenses, and financing and the roles of families and communities. It presents a case study of educational costs and financing in rural communities in countries around the world, then focuses on the case of Côte d’Ivoire before the December 1999 Military coup followed by armed conflicts that started in 2002 leading to the de facto division of the country. The paper considers the substantive and more general family and community participation in the educational process beyond material support. The conclusion summarizes the main findings and points to new areas of research using comparative approach. It is however likely that, while the political configuration may change, the administrative structure that constitutes the framework for educational policy will remain the same. Therefore this analysis has relevance even for the post-conflict reconstruction and implementation of education policy implementation including past and new types of community schools.

Les écoles communautaires de base au Sénégal: Contribution à la scolarisation universelle, l’éradication de la pauvreté, et la mise en place d’un programme national pour le développement durable
April 2005
Assié-Lumumba, N’Dri, Mamadou Mara, and Marieme Lo

Growth, Inequality and Poverty: Some Hard Questions
March 2005
Kanbur, Ravi

This commentary poses a series of progressively harder questions in the economic analysis of growth, inequality and poverty. Starting with relatively straightforward analysis of the relationship between growth and inequality, the first level of hard questions come when we ask what policies and institutions are causally related to equitable growth. Some progress is being made here by the economics literature, but relatively little is known about the second level, harder questions—how a society comes to acquire "good" policies and institutions, and what exactly it is that we are buying into when we accept the number one Millennium Development Goal of the United Nations—halving the incidence of income poverty by the year 2015.
In Journal of International Affairs 58(2): 223-232, 2005

The Progression through School and Academic Performance in Madagascar Study: Preliminary Descriptive Results
March 2005
Glick, Peter, Harivelo Rajemison, Arsène Ravelo, Yolande Raveloarison, Mamisoa Razakamanantsoa, and David E. Sahn

This paper is a preliminary analysis of the Etude sur la Progression Scolaire et la Performance Academique en Madagascar (EPSPAM). The study is based on a nation-wide household survey with a special focus on schooling, complimented by academic and life skills tests and additional surveys of local schools and communities. The survey was designed to investigate the household, community, and school-level determinants of a range of education outcomes in Madagascar: primary and secondary enrollment, grade repetition and dropout during primary and lower secondary school cycles, transitions from primary to secondary school, and learning — both academic (math and French test scores) and non-academic ('life-skills'). It also seeks to understand the association of early academic performance, on the one hand, and subsequent school progression and scholastic attainment, on the other. The study also investigates the knowledge and perceptions of parents about the schools in their communities. In addition, the policy environment in education in Madagascar has been very dynamic in the last several years. Therefore the study also evaluates the implementation and impacts of several important recent policies in education, including the elimination of public primary school fees and the provision of books and supplies, as well as a series of administrative reforms such as the professionalization of the chefs CISCO and efforts to make school finances more transparent.

Progression through School and Academic Performance in Senegal: Descriptive Survey Results
March 2005
Dumas, Christelle, Peter Glick, Sylvie Lambert, David E. Sahn, and Leopold Sarr

This report provides a preliminary descriptive analysis of some of the data from The Progression through School and Academic Performance in Senegal Study, a joint research project of Cornell University, Centre de Recherche en Economie Appliquée (CREA), and INRA. This project is based around a nation-wide household survey with a special focus on schooling, complimented by academic and life skills tests and additional surveys of local schools and communities. The topics covered in this report focus on the household survey and test score data and include: enrollment rates; school attainment; grade repetition; dropouts and progression to secondary school; academic and life skills test scores; and perceptions about education and schooling.

Rural Poverty Dynamics: Development Policy Implications
March 2005
Barrett, Christopher B.

This paper summarizes a few key findings from a rich and growing body of research on the nature of rural poverty and, especially, the development policy implications of relatively recent findings and ongoing work. Perhaps the most fundamental lesson of recent research on rural poverty is the need to distinguish transitory from chronic poverty. The existence of widespread chronic poverty also raises the possibility of poverty traps. I discuss some of the empirical and theoretical challenges of identifying and explaining poverty traps. In policy terms, the distinction between transitory and chronic poverty implies a need to distinguish between "cargo net" and "safety net" interventions and a central role for effective targeting of interventions. Prepared for invited presentation to the 25th International Conference of Agricultural Economists, August 17, 2003, Durban, South Africa.

In Reshaping Agriculture’s Contributions to Society, David Colman and Nick Vink (eds.), Oxford: Blackwell, 2005

Intertemporal Female Labor Force Behavior in a Developing Country: What Can We Learn from a Limited Panel?
February 2005
Glick, Peter and David E. Sahn

We analyze intertemporal labor market behavior of women in urban Guinea, West Africa using two distinct methodologies applicable to a short (two-year) panel. A multi-period multinomial logit model with random effects provides evidence of unobserved individual heterogeneity as a factor strongly affecting labor market sector choices over time. Results from simpler single period models that condition on prior sector choices are consistent with either heterogeneity or state dependence. Both approaches perform equally well in predicting individual labor market behavior conditional on past choices. In terms of observable characteristics, the estimates confirm the heterogeneous structure of the urban labor market: informal and formal employment appear to differ significantly in terms of skill requirements, compatibility with child care, and costs of entry.
In Labour Economics 12(1):23-45, February, 2005

Infant Mortality in Uganda: Determinants, Trends, and the Millennium Development Goals
January 2005
Ssewanyana, Sarah and Stephen D. Younger

Unusually for an African economy, Uganda’s growth has been rapid and sustained for an extended period of time. Further, this growth has clearly translated into substantial declines in poverty for all socio-economic groups and in all regions of the country. Despite this, there is concern in the country that other indicators of well-being are not improving at the same rate as incomes. This paper studies one such indicator, infant mortality. We use three rounds of the Uganda Demographic and Health Surveys to construct a national time series for infant mortality over a long period of time, 1974-1999. We also use these survey data to model the determinants of infant mortality and, based on those results, to examine the likelihood that Uganda will meet the Millennium Development Goal of halving infant mortality by 2015.
Presented at the DPRU-TIPS-Cornell University Forum on "African Development and Poverty Reduction: The Macro-Micro Linkage," October 13-15, 2004, Cape Town, South Africa
Alternate version in Journal of African Economies 17(1):34-61, 2008

On the Relevance of Identities, Communities, Groups and Networks to the Economics of Poverty Alleviation
January 2005
Barrett, Christopher B.

In The Social Economics of Poverty: Identities, Groups, Communities and Networks, Christopher B. Barrett (ed.), London: Routledge, 2005: This book aims to advance economists’ understanding of such questions by exploring how individuals’ social and moral identities affect their membership in communities, groups, and networks, how those identities and social affiliations affect microeconomic behavior, and how the resulting behaviors affect poverty. Humans do not live in isolation: their behavior depends on the relations that shape their world. Variation in relationships can perhaps lead to predictable variation in behaviors and economic outcomes, which, in turn, affect social relationships through subtle feedback mechanisms. Partly as a consequence, the dynamics of human social interactions and the effects on persistent poverty have become a very active area of economic research.

Pareto’s Revenge
January 2005
Kanbur, Ravi

Consider a project or a policy reform. In general, this change will create winners and losers. Some people will be better off, others will be worse off. Making an overall judgment on social welfare depends on weighing up the gains and losses across individuals. How can we make these comparisons? In the 1930s, a strong school of economic thought led by Lionel Robbins held that economists qua economists have no business making such judgments. They only have a basis for declaring an improvement when no such interpersonal comparisons of gains and losses are involved. Only a change which makes nobody worse off and at least one person better off, can be declared an improvement. Such a change is called a Pareto Improvement (PI). If no such changes are possible, the state of affairs is described as being Pareto Efficient (PE), a Pareto Optimum, or Pareto Optimal (PO). Named after Vilfredo Pareto, PI and PE are central to post 1945 high economic theory. After all, PE makes an appearance in the two fundamental theorems of Welfare Economics. These are that every competitive equilibrium (CE) is PE, and every PE allocation can be achieved as a CE, under certain conditions. Through these theorems, the post second world war economic theory of Kenneth Arrow and Gerard Debreu links back to Lionel Robbins and Vilfredo Pareto, and thence to Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand of competitive markets. From there the links come full circle back to stances taken in current policy debates on the role of markets and government.
In Journal of Social and Economic Development 7(1): 1-11, 2005

Dynamic Poverty Traps and Rural Livelihoods
December 2004
Barrett, Christopher B. and Brent M. Swallow

This chapter brings together two concepts in development economics: (1) the concept of poverty traps, which explains the co-existence of groups of national economies that continually grow, invest and become prosperous with other groups of economies that stagnate, under-invest and remain poor; and (2) the concept of livelihood strategies, which is used to explain the interconnections between asset portfolios, multiplex strategies of groups and individuals, and outcomes for the welfare of the poor. Implications for applied research, rural development policy and planning are drawn out.
In Rural Livelihoods and Poverty Reduction Policies, edited by F. Ellis and H. A. Freeman, London, Routledge, 2004.

Evolution of the Labour Market: 1995-2002
December 2004
Bhorat, Haroon, and Morné Oosthuizen

Since 1994, the South African economy has undergone significant changes with the government implementing various policies aimed at redressing the injustices of the past, fleshing out the welfare system and improving competitiveness as South Africa becomes increasingly integrated into the global economy. These policies have, directly or indirectly, impacted on the labour market and, consequently, on the lives of millions of South Africans. This paper’s chief objective is the analysis of some of the changes in the South African labour market in the post-apartheid era. The period, between 1995 and 2002, began with much promise and many challenges as the economy liberalised and normal trade relations were resumed with the rest of the world. Soon after the African National Congress came into power, the macro-economic strategy named “Growth, Employment and Redistribution” (or GEAR) was unveiled in 1996. This strategy predicted, amongst other things, employment growth averaging 270 000 jobs per annum from 1996 to 2000, with the number of new jobs created rising over time from 126 000 in 1996 to 409 000 in 2000 (GEAR 1996). Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, these projections were not realised. In fact, in terms of the labour market, the experience of the second half of the 1990s appears to have fallen short of even the baseline scenario contained in the GEAR document, which projected a net increase in (non-agricultural formal) employment of slightly more than 100 000 jobs per annum.
In Poverty and Policy in Post Apartheid South Africa, edited by Haroon Bhorat and Ravi Kanbur. Cape Town, South Africa: HSRC Press, 2006.

Buffering Inequalities: The Safety Net of Extended Families in Cameroon
December 2004
Eloundou-Enyegue, Parfait M. and David Shapiro

Extended family systems play an important role in buffering socioeconomic inequality in African societies, notably through fosterage of children across nuclear family units. Yet, there is concern that this support system would break down under the influence of globalization and recent economic crises. Whereas previous scholarship to address this concern has focused on trends in rates of family extension/ fosterage, we argue in this paper that a full account of trends in the buffering influence of extended families requires simultaneous attention to trends in (a) fosterage rates, (b) the distribution of fosterage opportunities, (c) the ameliorative effects of fosterage. This study focuses on the buffering influence of fosterage on schooling inequalities. Taking Cameroon as a case study and using the retrospective fosterage and schooling histories of 2,257 children, we examine the historical trends in these three proximate determinants of the buffering influence of extended families. Findings suggest that while the ameliorative effects of fosterage (once children are fostered) have not changed over time, both the rates and the distribution of fosterage opportunities have changed in ways that raise concern for children at the bottom quintile of the resource distribution.

The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM): An Assessment of Concept and Design
November 2004
Kanbur, Ravi

The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) has been proposed as a key element of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). It is important that the APRM be thoroughly debated in terms of concept and design. This paper is a contribution to the debate. The paper derives design criteria for peer review mechanisms after looking at some functioning examples. These criteria are—Competence, Independence, and Competition. It is argued that while the APRM is a welcome addition to pan-African institutional structure, its design will have to be improved for it to be truly successful. First, APRM should greatly narrow the scope of its reviews if it is to deliver competent assessments. Second NEPAD should devote significant resources to allow civil society in the reviewed country to do assessments of their own, and to critique the APRM assessment.
In Politikon 31(2):157-166, November, 2004

Better Technology, Better Plots or Better Farmers? Identifying Changes In Productivity And Risk Among Malagasy Rice Farmers
November 2004
Barrett, Christopher B., Christine M. Moser, Oloro V. McHugh, and Joeli Barison

We introduce a method for properly attributing observed productivity and risk changes among new production methods, farmers, and plots by controlling for farmer and plot heterogeneity. Results from Madagascar show that the new system of rice intensification (SRI) is indeed a superior technology. Although about half of the observed productivity gains appear due to farmer characteristics rather than SRI itself, the technology generates the estimated average output gains of more than 84%. The increased estimated yield risk associated with SRI would nonetheless make it unattractive to many farmers within the standard range of relative risk aversion.
In American Journal of Agricultural Economics 86(4):869-888 (November).

Decomposing Producer Price Risk: A Policy Analysis Tool With An Application to Northern Kenyan Livestock Markets
August 2004
Barrett, Christopher B., and Winnie K. Luseno

This paper introduces a simple method of price risk decomposition that determines the extent to which producer price risk is attributable to volatile inter-market margins, intra-day variation, intra-week (day of week) variation, or terminal market price variability. We apply the method to livestock markets in northern Kenya, a setting of dramatic price volatility where price stabilization is a live policy issue. In this particular application, we find that large, variable inter-market basis is the most important factor in explaining producer price risk in animals typically traded between markets. Local market conditions explain most price risk in other markets, in which traded animals rarely exit the region. Variability in terminal market prices accounts for relatively little price risk faced by pastoralists in the dry lands of northern Kenya although this is the focus of most present policy prescriptions under discussion.
In Food Policy 29(4):393-405

Growth and Poverty Reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa: Macroeconomic Adjustment and Beyond
May 2004
Sahn, David E. and Stephen D. Younger
We begin this paper by taking a look back at the adjustment, growth, and poverty debate. Our analysis suggests that while the poor do not bear the disproportionate costs of adjustment policies, it is also the case that policy reforms have largely failed to contribute to the alleviation of poverty. We therefore explore the microeconomic, structural, and institutional constraints to growth and poverty reduction. The three areas that we concentrate on in terms of removing the structural and fundamentally microeconomic constraints that impede growth and poverty alleviation are human resource development, vulnerability and risk management, and fiscal management through decentralization.
In Journal of African Economies 13(90001):i66-i95

Integrating Education and Population Policy: The Gender-Equity Payoffs of Reducing Pregnancy-Related Dropouts
May 2004
Eloundou-Enyegue, Parfait M., J. Mayone Stycos, and Fatou Jah

Plausible arguments suggest that policies to avoid pregnancy-related dropouts can help close gender gaps in education in Africa but these payoffs require quantification. This research uses schooling life tables to simulate how the gender gaps in secondary school completion within 23 sub-Saharan African countries would narrow if these countries reduced the incidence of pregnancy-related dropouts. Results suggest that reducing pregnancy-related dropouts is neither indispensable nor sufficient to close current gender gaps in most cases, yet it could halve these gaps in one third of the countries studied.

Access to Schooling and Employment in Cameroon: New Inequalities and Opportunities
April 2004
Eloundou-Enyegue, Parfait M., Ngoube Maurice, Okene Richard, V.P Onguene,Serge Bahoken, Joseph Tamukong, Moses Mbangwana, Joseph Essindi Evina, and Caroline Mongue Djongoue

This report is about recent trends in education and access to employment in Cameroon. It focuses on five questions about (1) current levels of schooling, (2) recent trends in enrolment, (3) recent trends in schooling inequalities, (4) access to employment, and (5) risks and opportunities to improve education and employment outcomes. Based on these analyses, the report discusses several challenges and opportunities in improving education and employment outcomes.

Smallholder Identities and Social Networks: The Challenge of Improving Productivity and Welfare
April 2004
Barrett, Christopher B.

This paper proposes a general framework for resolving the puzzle of how to reconcile the mass of recent evidence on the salutary effects of social capital at the individual level with the casual, larger-scale observation that social embeddedness appears negatively correlated with productivity and material measures of welfare. It advances an analytical framework that not only explains individual productivity or technology adoption behavior as a function of the characteristics or behaviors of others, but that also explains the aggregate properties of social systems characterized by persistently low productivity. Examples from Kenya and Madagascar are used to illustrate the phenomena discussed.
In The Social Economics of Poverty: Identities, Groups, Communities and Networks, Christopher B. Barrett, editor, London: Routledge, 2005.

Mixing Qualitative and Quantitative Methods of Analyzing Poverty Dynamics
March 2004
Barrett, Christopher B.

This paper outlines my current thinking and recent experience in mixing qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection and analysis so as to gain a firmer and more useful understanding of poverty dynamics, especially in rural Kenya. We first explore the very real differences between qualitative and quantitive poverty analysis methods, differences that make them useful complements. Then we debunk a few myths about differences that do not really exist. Finally, I discuss key lessons learned from four multi-year research projects in Kenya that have tried to implement mixed qualitative and quantitative research methods with a range of researchers from animal science, anthropology, economics, geography, range science, sociology and soil science.
In Quantitative and Qualitative Methods for Poverty Analysis: Proceedings of the Workshop Held on 11 March, 2004, Nairobi Kenya, Walter Odhiambo, John M. Omiti, and David I. Muthaka, editors, Nairobi, Kenya: Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA)

Public Service Provision, User Fees, and Political Turmoil
January 2004
Fafchamps, Marcel and Bart Minten

Following an electoral dispute, the central highlands of the island of Madagascar were subjected to an economic blockade during the first half of 2002. After the blockade ended in June 2002, user fees for health services and school fees were progressively eliminated. This paper examines the provision of schooling and health services to rural areas of Madagascar before, during, and after the blockade. We find that public services were more resilient to the blockade than initially anticipated, but that health services were more affected than schools. The removal of user fees had a large significant effect on public services that is distinct from the end of the blockade and the increase in school book provision.

The Impact of Family Literacy on the Earnings of Illiterates: Evidence from Senegal
January 2004
Sarr, Leopold R.

This paper investigates the extent to which the sharing of literacy knowledge within the household affects the labor force participation and the earnings of illiterate workers in Senegal. Using the concept of proximate and isolated illiterates recently developed by K. Basu and J. Foster, I apply an intra-household model of literacy to a Senegalese household dataset. The estimates obtained from different selection bias models provide evidence that parental literacy and education do not capture all sources of external literacy benefits and that illiterate members also benefit from other literate members of the household. It also appears that rural workers and female illiterates tend to participate more in the labor market than their urban and male counterparts. On the other hand, an urban illiterate worker who lives in a household where at least one member is literate is expected to earn a wage that is about 88% higher than that of an isolated illiterate urban worker whereas the earnings of an illiterate female worker are on average 33% higher than the ones of another illiterate female worker whose family’s ratio of literate to illiterate members is one point lower. This suggests that policies targeting isolated illiterate households, in both rural and urban zones as well as illiterate women — who appear to be better recipients of external literacy benefits — within households, are likely to mitigate their vulnerability and thus to reduce the incidence of illiteracy and poverty.

Growth and Poverty Reduction in Uganda, 1992-1999: A Multidimensional Analysis of Changes in Living Standards
October 2003
Younger, Stephen D.

This paper examines Uganda’s progress on poverty reduction when poverty is measured in multiple dimensions. In particular, I consider poverty measures that are defined across household expenditures per capita or household assets, children’s health status, and in some cases, mother’s literacy. The comparisons are robust to the choice of poverty line, poverty measure, and sampling error. In general, I find that multidimensional poverty declined significantly in Uganda during the 1990s, although results for the latter half of the decade are more ambiguous. While there was clear progress in the dimension of expenditures and assets, improvement in children’s height-for-age z-scores is less certain for the 1995-2000 period. I also make poverty comparisons for individual regions and urban and rural areas in the country. Rather surprisingly, progress on multivariate poverty reduction is less clear in Central region and in urban areas.

Urban-Rural Inequality in Africa
July 2003
Sahn, David E. and David C. Stifel
In this paper we examine the relative importance of rural versus urban areas in terms of monetary poverty and seven other related living standards indicators. We present the levels of urban-rural differences for several African countries for which we have data and find that living standards in rural areas lag far behind those in urban areas. Then we examine the relative and absolute rates of change for urban and rural areas, and find no overall evidence of declining differences in the gaps between urban and rural living standards. Finally, we conduct urban-rural decompositions of inequality, examining the within versus between (urban and rural) group inequality for asset inequality, education inequality, and health (height) inequality.
In Journal of African Economies 12(4):564-597, 2003

Presented at WIDER (World Institute for Development Economics Research) Conference on Spatial Inequality in Africa, University of Oxford, September 21-22, 2002.

The Distribution of Social Services in Madagascar, 1993-99
December 2002
Glick, Peter and Mamisoa Razakamanantsoa

While a number of benefit incidence studies of public expenditures have been carried out for African countries, there are very few studies that look at how the incidence of such expenditures has been changing over time. We use three rounds of nation-wide household surveys to analyze the distribution of public expenditures on education and health services in Madagascar over the decade of the 90s, a period of little economic growth but significant changes in social sector organization and budgets. Education and health services for the most part are found to be distributed more equally than household expenditures: therefore they serve to redistribute welfare from the rich to the poor. By stricter standards of progressivity, however, public services do poorly. Few services other than primary schooling accrue disproportionately to the poor in absolute terms. When we further adjust for differences in the numbers of potential beneficiaries in different expenditure quintiles (e.g., school-age children in the case of education), none of the education or health benefits considered appear to target the poor while several target the non-poor. We also find significant disparities in the use of services between rural and urban areas, and by province. On the other hand, for both education and health services, no notable gender differences exist in coverage. With regard to changes over the decade, primary enrollments rose sharply and also become significantly more progressive; since the country experienced little or no growth in household incomes during the period, this apparently reflects supply rather than demand side factors. The improvement in equity in public schooling occurred in part because the enrollment growth was in effect regionally targeted: it occurred only in rural areas, which are poorer.
Also see, "The Distribution of Education and Health Services in Madagascar over the 1990s: Increasing Progressivity in an Era of Low Growth," in Journal of African Economies (October, 2005).

Water Pricing, the New Water Law, and the Poor: An Estimation of Demand for Improved Water Services in Madagascar
December 2002
Minten, Bart, Rami Razafindralambo, Zaza Randriamiarana, and Bruce Larson

Generalized cost recovery is one of the basic principles of the new Water Law that has recently been adopted by the Malagasy government. However, the effect of this change in policy is still poorly understood. Based on contingent valuation surveys in an urban and a rural area in southern Madagascar, this study analyzes the effect of changes in prices for water services. The results suggest that a minimum size of 90 households in a village is necessary to reach full cost recovery for well construction. Given that this is significantly above the current size of villages in the survey area, full cost recovery seems therefore impossible and subsidies are necessary to increase access to improved water services. Cost recovery for maintenance is relatively easier to achieve. In urban areas, water use practices and willingness to pay for water services depend highly on household income. To better serve the poor, it is therefore suggested that rich households, who rely on private taps, cross-subsidize poor households as a significant number of households is unwilling or unable to pay for water from a public tap. Given that public taps make up a small part of the total consumption of the national water company JIRAMA, lower income from public taps are shown to have only a marginal effect on its total income. However, as experiences in other countries as well as in Madagascar have shown, a fee on public taps is necessary as water for free leads to spoilage, does not give any incentive for the distributor to expand networks, and might therefore be a bad policy for the poor overall.

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