Discussion Paper

No. 2011-34 | August 26, 2011
Assessing Absolute and Relative Pro-Poor Growth, with an Application to Selected African Countries


This paper proposes a multidimensional procedure for jointly assessing the absolute and relative pro-poorness of growth. It is also a procedure for testing whether poverty comparisons can be made over classes of indices that incorporate both absolute and relative views of poverty. Besides being robust to whether pro-poor judgements should be absolute or relative, the procedure is also robust to choosing over a class of weights to aggregate the impact of growth on the poor as well as over ranges of absolute and relative poverty lines. The test is applied to distributional changes in five middle- and four lower-income African countries, countries that have witnessed different impacts of growth in the last two decades.

Paper submitted to the special issue
The Measurement of Inequality and Well-Being: New Perspectives

JEL Classification

D63 I32

Cite As

Sami Bibi, Jean-Yves Duclos, and Audrey Verdier-Chouchane (2011). Assessing Absolute and Relative Pro-Poor Growth, with an Application to Selected African Countries. Economics Discussion Papers, No 2011-34, Kiel Institute for the World Economy. http://www.economics-ejournal.org/economics/discussionpapers/2011-34


Comments and Questions

Anonymous - Referee Report 1
September 26, 2011 - 09:48

The paper is an application on known results to the evaluation of pro-poor growth. The section 2 is not very interesting while the application is well-performed.

Would it be possible to reduce the volume of section 2?

I have only minor recommendations on section 3 which I list ...[more]

... below.

There are too many figures and some are difficult to visually capture. One way to reduce their number is to plot only the differences and not the curves. This would half the size of the odd figures and allow to group the figures differently (not per-country as it is at the moment but per set of countries by differences in absolute poverty and separately for relative poverty).

The bidimensional differences are easier to visualize for the cases where the bounds are not plotted. You could comment on the confidence intervals but I would prefer not to see them on the figures.

In section 3, the footnotes are not inserted after the punctuation.
"Methodology" on page 9 should be "method".
On page 10, the second citation to DASP is redundant. You could stop the sentence to "information".
The references are not consistently written: the volume number is included only in the 4th entry. In the latter, the dash between the page numbers is different from the other cases. In Duclos et al. (2006) "113" appears twice.

Jean-Yves Duclos - Thank you
September 26, 2011 - 19:24

Thank you for these comments, which we will certainly take into account in revising the paper.

Jean-Yves Duclos

Anonymous - Referee Report 2
November 21, 2011 - 09:53

See attached file

Jean-Yves Duclos - Brief reply to referee 2
December 14, 2011 - 15:26

Thank you for this very useful set of comments. We are of course pleased with the positive general assessment you are making of this paper. We take good note of the detailed remarks that you make to help improve the readability of the paper, in particular the methodological section 2. ...[more]

... If given the opportunity by the editor, we hope to take these remarks into account in revising the paper.

Again, thank you for your guidance.

Anonymous - Invited Reader Comment
November 21, 2011 - 10:19

See attached file

Jean-Yves Duclos - Brief reply to referee 2
December 14, 2011 - 15:55

Thank you for these detailed comments on our paper.

We agree that referring to the broader pro-poor growth debate and to the distinction between pro-poor analysis and the setting of poverty lines would be useful. We also understand that greater clarity of exposition in section 2 would ...[more]

... be helpful.

You provide an interesting example in which the methodology that is used may not do full justice to the perhaps greater importance of absolute pro-poor growth. In the context of that dominance methodology, however, both absolute and relative pro-poorness are important; a greater degree of absolute pro-poorness cannot therefore compensate a lower degree of relative pro-poorness. It would be possible to build a framework in which absolute pro-poor growth is more important than relative pro-poor growth, in a lexicographic matter. This, however, would be beyond the scope of the paper.

The mixing of different types of data sets may be seen as a problem. Our experience is that the estimates are roughly the same whether we use the actual individual data sets or the reconstructed ones. The mix of different data sets that we use enables us to look at countries for which individual data sets are not available.

You are quite right to mention that there are important differences in the construction of welfare aggregates and uses of spatial price adjustments.

We should also sort out some of the notational issues that you mention.

Thanks again for your kind and helpful remarks.

Jean-Yves Duclos - Revised Version of Paper
March 02, 2012 - 13:31

See attached file

Jean-Yves Duclos - Replies to Reports and Comment
March 02, 2012 - 13:34

See attached file