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The devil is in the details: growth, polarization, and poverty reduction in Africa in the past two decades

Fabio Clementi (), M. Fabiani and Vasco Molini ()

No 8494, Policy Research Working Paper Series from The World Bank

Abstract: This paper investigates the distributional changes that limited pro-poor growth in the past two decades in Sub-Saharan Africa; these changes went undetected by standard inequality measures. By developing a new decomposition technique based on a nonparametric method -- the relative distribution -- the paper finds a clear distributional pattern affecting almost all the analyzed countries. Nineteen of 24 countries experienced a significant increase in polarization, particularly in the lower tail of the distribution, and this distributional change lowered the pro-poor impact of growth substantially. Without this change, poverty could have decreased an additional 5-6 percentage points during the past decade.

Date: 2018-06-25
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