ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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World Bank’s Poverty Enumeration

The end of the period set out to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals triggered off numerous studies on global poverty. Most notable was the paper by Ferreira et al (2015), which can be considered as the (unofficial) view of the World Bank. We subject this particular paper to critical scrutiny and find that the Bank’s poverty enumeration exercise fails to satisfy the requirements of transparency, denies researchers access to data, and replicability of the poverty numbers produced by the Bank. We have provided evidence of non-robustness of the poverty estimates by using different purchasing power parities. A simpler method for estimating PPPs that avoids the complex and expensive procedure adopted by the World Bank-led International Comparison Program has also been proposed.

International Comparison Program of the World Bank

Are the purchasing power parities estimated by the International Comparison Program all that meaningful for large countries such as India and China? The article provides empirical evidence from India that suggests that the ICP practice of providing economy-wide PPPs that treat all countries (large and small) as single entities severely limits its usefulness. It also provides evidence that questions the usefulness of multilaterally determined PPPs in the context of bilateral comparisons between countries far removed from the numeraire country, namely, the United States. This note also argues that the lack of price information that is relevant for the poor severely limits the usefulness of the ICP PPPs in the poverty comparisons. Some suggestions are provided for improving the relevance and usefulness of the ICP.

Rangarajan Committee Report

This is a critical assessment of the Rangarajan Expert Committee on poverty measurement. While much of the media coverage has focused on the poverty lines recommended by the Committee, this article evaluates the methodology adopted and discusses some wider issues that were flagged in the terms of reference set for this Committee. It argues that the Committee missed an opportunity to mark a significant departure from previous approaches (especially in widening the measure of poverty) and provides illustrative empirical evidence in support of this assertion.

Child Health in West Bengal

There are few areas where the statistics are as dismal as child health in India. This paper analyses four interrelated child health indicators in West Bengal - child malnourishment (measured by the rates of stunting and wasting), prenatal, infant, and child mortality rates. It also provides evidence on how these rates vary with the gender of the child, parental education, and the wealth status of households. West Bengal does not fare badly on child health in relation to the all-India figures and does better than the rest of east India, but lags behind south India. Its performance on mortality rates is much better than India as a whole, and, quite significantly, compares favourably with those in south India. However, effective policy interventions are required to delink maternal health from child health and the importance of this cannot be overstated.

Do Inequality and Prices Affect Comparisons in Living Standards? The Indian Evidence

Notwithstanding the wide recognition that movements in relative prices and inequality affect welfare comparisons between households, there is a dearth of literature incorporating them in welfare analysis. Changes in relative prices open up a divergence between nominal and real expenditure inequalities that will persist even if all nominal expenditures are deflated by a household invariant price index. In a period of rising inequality, a comparison of summary welfare measures based on mean or median expenditure, even if inflation adjusted, will give us a misleading picture of changes in living standards. This paper provides evidence for India in the post-reform period. The results confirm that in a period of significant relative price changes and rising inequality, the omission of these factors leads to overstatement of the welfare gains. Another observation is that relatively affluent states do not do all that well if we focus on inequality or on their food consumption alone.

Diversity in Calorie Sources and Undernourishment during Rapid Economic Growth

This paper compares the experiences of India and Vietnam in dietary diversity and undernourishment from the early 1990s to the middle of the first decade of the new millennium. Both these countries recorded high economic growth rates and large poverty reductions during the late 1990s following a set of economic reforms. However, while Vietnam recorded large reductions in its undernourishment rates, the reverse was true for India. The Vietnamese, with their intervention programmes aimed at nutrient enhancement, have managed their growth process ensuring a positive association between reduction in expenditure-based poverty and calorie-based under-nutrition, in a manner that has lessons for other high growth achievers such as India.

On Setting the Poverty Line Based on Estimated Nutrient Prices

The mounting evidence on the inconsistency between the official poverty estimates in India and those based on a direct specification of the calorie requirements raises serious questions on the credibility of the official poverty line as a measure of the true cost of obtaining the minimum calorie requirements today. This study provides evidence, based on estimated nutrient prices and a ?balanced diet?, that shows how far the official poverty lines have fallen out of line with their ?true? measure. The paper provides robust evidence, with special reference to the socially disadvantaged groups, that suggests that the poverty situation in India is much worse than that revealed in official poverty statistics (?adjusted? or not). This paper makes a methodological contribution by proposing an expenditure-based poverty line, using the household specific estimated nutrient prices, that serves as a compromise between the official poverty line and that specified directly in terms of calories. The proposed poverty line has the advantage of incorporating inter household variation in food preferences due to regional, class, caste and other non-demographic factors that the ?official poverty line? does not do. The study confirms the inferior poverty status, on both poverty measures, of the socially disadvantaged groups vis-?-vis the others. This paper, also, contains evidence that points to the usefulness of the public distribution system in the anti-poverty programme for the backward classes.

Understanding Globalisation

tariffs, withdrawing subsidies and Understanding Globalisation allowing unfettered foreign investment. Globalisation and India: A Multi- Dimensional Perspective edited by Purusottam Bhattacharya and Ajitava Ray Chaudhuri; Lancers Books, New Delhi, 2000;

Simultaneous Analysis of Child Labour and Child Schooling

This study investigates the key determinants of child labour hours and child schooling experience, paying special attention to the interaction between the two. A significant methodogical feature that distinguishes the present study from previous investigations is that this analysis recognises the joint endogeneity of child labour, child schooling and child poverty. The study is conducted on Nepalese and Pakistani data, and the results are compared. A key empirical finding, with significant policy implications, is the sharp trade-off between child labour and child schooling. Another common feature of both countries is the gender bias in favour of boys' schooling, though the bias is much larger in case of Pakistan.

Poverty, Household Size and Child Welfare in India

This study uses Indian unit record data from expenditure and employment surveys, in conjunction with state level indicators to (a) investigate whether the backward classes and female headed households face higher poverty rates than others; and (b) examine the impact of poverty, along with a host of individual, family, socio-economic and state characteristics, on child labour and child schooling. Special attention is paid to the gender issue, and to the employment and schooling of children from the backward classes and female headed households. The logit regression results point to the positive role that the state governments can play in improving child welfare.

Estimates of Poverty for SC, ST and Female-Headed Households

This paper computes poverty rates for scheduled caste, scheduled tribe and female-headed households. It also highlights the necessity of making adjustments for household size and composition while making welfare comparisons. These adjustments indicate a much greater degree of impoverishment among SC and ST communities than is indicated by the more conventional head count ratios based on the official poverty line. Higher poverty among female-headed households becomes apparent only when demographically-adjusted measures are used.

Public Policy Analysis and Macroeconomic Theory

a job. It may be argued that in the western countries also it is not the teacher or the researcher with the highest degrees who gets the highest salaries Yet it must be remembered that in many of these countries, there is a large intake from the poorer countries. The viability of many a graduate programmes in the US is dependent on foreign students. It also must be remembered that the salaries at least assure a decent middle class existence so that many still choose the profession of teaching for the life style it entails Finally, the strong links with industry and government allow sufficient funds to flow in to supplement lower academic incomes In tact, the academic community in higher education should demand a raise in the level of salaries in schools and of emoluments of PhD scholars as well. They should also be prepared to offer a cut in salaries as a part of a national incomes policy. However, as long as the government is not willing to evolve a national policy and fixes salary levels only on the basis of the coercive capacity of different sections of the population, the teaching community to protect and promote the education system must ask for much higher salaries than are being offered under the new scheme. This coupled with the demand for greater autonomy within the education system are the two critical needs of higher education REVIEWS Public Policy Analysis and Macroeconomic Theory Ranjan Ray Political Control of the Macroeconomy: The Political Economy of Public Policy-Making by Paul Whiteley; Sage Publications, London, 1986; pp 212,


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