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Understanding poverty dynamics and vulnerability in Tanzania: 2012–2018

Jehovaness Aikaeli, David Garcés‐Urzainqui and Kenneth Mdadila

Review of Development Economics, 2021, vol. 25, issue 4, 1869-1894

Abstract: We study poverty dynamics and vulnerability in Tanzania between 2012 and 2018 using synthetic panel methods. Under the surface of apparent stability in aggregate poverty rates, and despite robust economic growth, households experienced strong fluctuations in consumption levels during this period: 12.5% of the population remained in persistent poverty, a further 30% experienced transient poverty, and one of five Tanzanians above the poverty line in 2012 was poor 6 years later. Education and employment in the nonfarm sector are particularly effective at shielding households from poverty, while rural and large households with many children are most likely to slip into poverty. Considerable differences exist between less‐deprived areas such as Dar es Salaam or Kilimanjaro and regions in the northwest, where persistent poverty is especially high. Looking ahead to the impact of COVID‐19, those households least prepared to take preventive measures against the virus suffer from more adverse poverty dynamics, while those involved in the sectors taking the hardest economic hit from the pandemic start from a better pre‐pandemic situation. This suggests that novel policies that specifically support this ‘new vulnerable’ need to be combined with redoubled efforts to address the structural causes of poverty and vulnerability.

Date: 2021
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