3/7/10

Poverty in Africa.  Two recent studies indicate that economic growth in Africa has succeeded in reducing poverty.  Alwyn Young of Columbia University concludes in "The African Growth Miracle": 

Measures of real consumption based upon the ownership of durable goods, the quality of housing, the health and mortality of children, the education of youth and the allocation of female time in the household indicate that sub-Saharan living standards have, for the past two decades, been growing in excess of 3 percent per annum, i.e. more than three times the rate indicated in international data sets.

Pinkovskiy and Sala-i-Martin conclude in "African Poverty is Falling -- Much Faster than You Think" :

The conventional wisdom that Africa is not reducing poverty is wrong.... [F]or the period 1970-2006 [, w]e show that: (1) African poverty is falling and is falling rapidly; (2) if present trends continue, the poverty Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people with incomes less than one dollar a day will be achieved on time; (3) the growth spurt that began in 1995 decreased African income inequality instead of increasing it; (4) African poverty reduction is remarkably general: it cannot be explained by a large country or even by a single set of countries possessing some beneficial geographical or historical characteristic.

posted March 7, 2010 10 a.m.