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Delivering on the Promise of Pro-Poor Growth

Ignacio Hernandez's picture

The book “Delivering on the Promise of Pro-Poor Growth, Insights and Lessons from Country Experiences” was launched today at the World Bank.


This book contributes to the debate on how to accelerate poverty reduction by providing insights from eight countries that have been relatively successful in delivering pro-poor growth (or shared growth, using the new terminology): Bangladesh, Brazil, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Tunisia, Uganda, and Vietnam.


Louise Cord, Sector Manager at the Bank’s Poverty Reduction Group and one of the editors of the book, mentioned in her presentation that growth accounted for an average 80 % of poverty reduction in those eight countries, so it does not explain all the variations in poverty reduction. According to the book, initial inequality and changes in inequality were also important factors. Significant poverty reduction has been accompanied by rising inequality that offsets the gains from growth.


Some of the policies that, according to the country case studies in the book, worked in increasing pro-poor growth are:

  • Strengthening property rights

  • Improving investment climate

  • Striking the right balance with labor market regulations

  • Creating an incentive framework that benefits all farmers

  • Helping poorer farmers cope with risk


Some needed public goods for pro-poor growth would be:

  • Improving market access and lowering transaction costs

  • Expanding technology available to smallholder producers

  • Increasing access to secondary and girls' education

  • Improving access to infrastructure

Another participant, James Robinson from Harvard University, warned against the temptation to extract conclusions in one country and apply them in a different one. We should always take into account the political economy context of each country, as that may alter the circumstances in which growth is pro-poor.


In sum, the challenges ahead according to Louise Cord's summary of the book are:

  • Creating opportunities for the poor to access better employment opportunities

  • Addressing spatial disparities and related poverty traps

  • Building political economy coalitions for shared growth, including strategies to give more voice to the poor

  • She also acknowledged that growth and inequality in the 2000s is a changing relationship. Therefore, more study needs to be done on this subject

The book is available online as a PDF document (1.89 MB)


Related: a previous posting in our Fridays Academy series on Pro-Poor Growth

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