رشد اقتصادی و کاهش فقر کودکان در بنگلادش و چین
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|13067||2012||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||9383 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Asian Economics, Volume 23, Issue 1, February 2012, Pages 73–85
This paper analyzes child poverty in Bangladesh and China during periods of rapid economic growth. It compares the extent as well as profile of child poverty in both countries. Comparisons on the extent of child poverty over time and across countries are made using a decomposition framework attributing child poverty differences to differences in three components: mean child income, demographic circumstances and the distribution of child income. Child poverty is found to be more extensive in Bangladesh than in China, and is very much a problem for rural children in both countries. The results show that economic growth can reduce child poverty but does not always do so. For understanding changes over time and across countries in the extent of child poverty, it can be necessary to also consider changes/differences in the distribution of child income as well as in the demographic composition.
This paper describes child poverty in Bangladesh and China and investigates reasons for changes over time as well as differences across the two countries. Following an often used, though not uncontroversial alternative, we define a child as poor if he/she lives in a household with a disposable income of less than one dollar/day in Purchasing Power Parities. Our sample surveys are large. For Bangladesh we study the period 1995/1996–2000, for China the period 1988–1995 as well as the period 1995–2002. Child poverty is compared across time and across the two countries. This is done using a decomposition framework by which poverty differences are attributed to differences in three components: mean child income, demographic composition and the distribution of child income. There is consensus among observers of the desirability of combating child poverty; it has become a subject of great interest among policymakers and researchers alike. Yet concerns about child poverty have been more forcefully expressed in richer countries and in the Commonwealth of Independent States than in low- and middle-income countries.1 We are not aware of any previous effort to compare the extent and evolution of child poverty across Asia or across low- and middle-income countries, the first motivation for this study. A second motivation is that the question of how economic growth affects poverty is open to debate. This paper adds to the literature on growth and poverty reduction by providing two case examples. Studying two growing Asian countries yields more knowledge than by merely investigating one. Bangladesh during the second part of the 1990s is one of the cases, and the other is the People's Republic of China from the late 1980s to the beginning of the new millennium. China's amazing growth record of the last 30 years, stimulated by a policy of opening up, is well known. However, though starting from a lower level, Bangladesh has recently experienced rapid economic growth as well. In addition to comparing the two countries as entities, we compare Bangladesh with the southwestern region of China. The reason for this is that China is characterised by large regional differences in levels of income. The southwestern region of China, with a considerably lower than average income level, is in this respect as well as in location more similar to Bangladesh than other parts of China. Comparing Bangladesh with southwest China thus provides another investigation of how economic growth affects child poverty. The supposition that economic growth is a prerequisite for poverty reduction in a longer time perspective is not without controversy.2 Disagreements stem from economic growth being the outcome of many different processes. Growth is not necessarily distributionally neutral; it can be concentrated to those worse off, or to those better off. If economic growth is concentrated to those worse off, income inequality as well as poverty decreases while if growth is concentrated to those better off, inequality increases and poverty may or may not decrease. One reason for rapid economic growth in the developing world during recent years has been the opening up of previously more closed economies to allow for increased international trade and foreign investment. When leading to rapid industrialisation, such processes can benefit domestic capital owners as well as skilled and semi-skilled urban workers. However, this type of growth does not necessarily immediately spill over to rural areas where typically most of the country's poor reside. This is why there can be episodes where positive economic growth in the economy does not go hand in hand with poverty reduction in the population.3 Episodes of no poverty reduction despite economic growth can also be the result of demographic changes (widely defined). If ever larger/smaller proportions of the population belong to greater/lesser poverty-prone segments, this counteracts/reinforces impulses towards poverty reduction coming from a growing economy. Given that growth and poverty reduction must not necessarily go hand in hand, it is not surprising that questions of the connection between economic growth and poverty reduction are subject to considerable research efforts. Different countries and periods have been investigated using various research strategies. There are studies analysing single countries and others analysing many countries.4 However, to our knowledge there is no previous study focusing on how economic growth affects the extent of poverty among children. In this study, child poverty is defined as living in a household with a disposable income lower than the often used international poverty line of one dollar/day promoted by the World Bank. Turning to our results, it is hardly surprising that for any given point in time, child poverty has been more extensive in Bangladesh than in China. During one of the three spells of rapid economic growth studied, child poverty did not decrease profoundly in China. Here, a more unequal distribution of child income between 1988 and 1995 offset the poverty-reducing impulses of economic growth. However, for the other two spells studied, economic growth was in step with child poverty reduction; this was the evolution in Bangladesh for 1995/1996–2000 as well as for China from 1995 to 2002. The cross-country comparisons show that the lower child poverty rates in China can mainly be attributed to the country's higher average child income level, while differences in income inequality and demographic composition are of lesser importance. When trying to understand why in the mid-1990s southwest China had lower child poverty rates than Bangladesh, we find that differences in demographic composition are fundamental. In southwest China, children lived in families with fewer children than in Bangladesh. However, a few years later, the gap in child poverty between southwest China and Bangladesh had widened, with differences in mean child income playing a larger role. Our study thus illustrates that economic growth and differences in income levels affect child poverty differences across time and across countries. However, it also shows that economic growth does not automatically lead to less child poverty. For understanding changes over time and across countries in child poverty, it can also be necessary to consider changes/differences in the distribution of child income as well as in the demographic composition. The rest of the paper continues as follows: the next section provides information on the context for the comparison by giving information on the two countries. The data sets used are introduced in Section 3 while we describe child poverty in China and Bangladesh in Section 4. The accounting framework is presented in Section 5, and the results from applying it are shown in Section 6. Finally we sum up the study in Section 7.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In this paper we have described child poverty in Bangladesh and China as well as investigated reasons for differences across the two countries using harmonised microdata. We have also investigated reasons for changes over time during periods of rapid economic growth in both countries. The study is based on large samples and a poverty line set to one dollar/day. True, this is not the only alternative of defining poverty in cross-country studies. We are aware that in the future the foremost approach could be one in which the international poverty line is set to 1.25 USD per day, and that the issue of how to convert this into local currencies will be solved somewhat differently than the method used in this paper. The comparisons of child poverty were made using a decomposition framework by which poverty differences are attributed to differences in mean child income, demographic differences and differences in the distribution of child income. Child poverty is very much a problem for rural children in both countries. Not surprisingly we have reported that child poverty is more extensive in Bangladesh than in China. Out of the three spells of rapid economic growth studied, child poverty was found to have decreased profoundly during two spells, while much less during a third (China from 1988 to 1995). A more unequal distribution of income in China between 1988 and 1995 largely offset the poverty reducing impulses coming from economic growth. However, in Bangladesh from 1995 to 2000 and in China from 1995 to 2002, economic growth was much in tandem with child poverty reduction. A pattern of child poverty rates being highest in families with many children was found in both countries. Child poverty is negatively related to parental education level in Bangladesh and in China in the mid-1990s and thereafter, but much less so than in 1988. Ethnic minority children are more poverty prone than the majority in China, while the Bangladeshi population is more ethnically homogeneous as are the groups of poor children. The cross-country comparisons show that the lower child poverty rates in China can mainly be attributed to a higher average child income level than in Bangladesh. When trying to understand why in the mid-1990s southwest China had lower child poverty rates than Bangladesh, it was found that differences in demographic composition are central. In southwest China, children lived in families with fewer other children than in Bangladesh. However, a few years later, the difference in the extent of poverty between southwest China and Bangladesh had widened and was now driven by differences in mean income. Our study thus illustrates that economic growth and differences in income levels are significant for child poverty differences over time and across countries. However, it also shows that economic growth does not by necessity lead to a lessening of child poverty. Similarly, differences in mean income are not the only factors that affect poverty differences across countries. In addition to economic growth, changed distribution of income as well as changed demographic composition can affect how poverty develops.