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

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The Quintile Income Statistic, Money-metric Poverty, and Disequalising Growth in India: 1983 to 2011-12

On the record of poverty and growth in India over the last 30 or so years, the general scholarly view seems to be that there have been substantial declines in money-metric poverty and that the growth in per capita consumption expenditure has not been marked by any discernible evidence of non-inclusiveness. It is argued in this paper that inferences of this nature are largely a consequence of the particular approaches to the measurement of poverty and inclusiveness that have been generally adopted in the literature. Alternative, and arguably more plausible, protocols of measurement suggest a picture of money-metric deprivation and growing disparity in India which shares little in common with received wisdom on the subject.

Thanks are owed to the United Nations University’s World Institute for Development Economics Research for permitting extensive direct use, in Sections 1 and 2 of this paper, of material from a piece by S Subramanian earlier published in the WIDER Angle Newsletter (S Subramanian: “Poverty and Inclusive Growth in the Light of the Quintile Income Statistic,” WIDER Angle, November–December 2013). The authors are also grateful to an anonymous referee from the Brooke World Poverty Institute, University of Manchester (where a fi rst draft of this paper was written) for very useful comments.

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