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Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title Growth and Distribution in Multidimensional Well-Being in Middle Income Countries: South Africa, Thailand, and Colombia
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
URL http://www.economicpolicyresearch.org/images/docs/SCEPA_blog/SCEPA_news/SessIA_Greenstein_Paper.pdf
Abstract
In the discourse on economic development, two important recent findings have been that the majority of the world’s poor now live in countries classified as middle income countries, and that while there is a trend of convergence in national income of countries, inequality within countries is becoming increasingly important. One of the most important questions concerning the alleviation of poverty globally is whether or not economic growth in these “converging” countries is sufficiently inclusive. This study explores the association between growth, poverty and inequality in the middle income countries of South Africa, Thailand, and Colombia. While, conventionally, the research in the field has focused on economic dimensions of distributions, this research includes an exploration of distributions of other indicators of quality of life, using variables such as asset ownership, access to public services, and health and education outcomes, to create an indicator of overall well-being for each individual household. The analysis relies on census data, and the large sample allows for more definitive analysis of smaller groups and sub-categories within the population. Improvement in and changing distribution of this indicator over time is evaluated, while assessing the possibly changing importance of racial or ethnic identity, sector of employment, geographic location, and structural economic change. I find persistent differences in household well-being, and in distribution of the gains of growth, related to the household’s physical location and its link to the economy via the sector of or type of employment of the household head, in all three countries.

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