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Revisiting cross-country poverty convergence in the developing world with a special focus on Sub-Saharan Africa

Yusi Ouyang, Abebe Abebe () and Erik Thorbecke

World Development, 2019, vol. 117, issue C, 13-28

Abstract: The literature on poverty convergence is sparse and much of the empirical evidence relies on Ravallion (2012) who found a lack of poverty convergence across some ninety Less Developed Countries (LDCs) during 1980–2007. This paper revisits cross-country poverty convergence using data from the same sources but an extended period of 1980–2014. We find that while poverty convergence remains absent across LDCs, it is present in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) during the extended period. Initial poverty canceling the effectiveness of growth in reducing poverty explains the lack of poverty convergence across LDCs; while a strong growth effect dominating the adverse effect of initial poverty on growth effectiveness explains the strong poverty convergence found in SSA. A direct adverse link between initial poverty and subsequent growth – which Ravallion (2012) recognized as the main impediment to poverty convergence during 1980–2007 – is not found in this study.

Keywords: Cross-country poverty convergence; Growth; Poverty; Less Developed Countries (LDCs); Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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