Three new leaders face the challenge of food and fuel subsidies: Sisi, Modi, and Jokowi

Jeffrey Frankel 09 September 2014

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In few policy areas does good economics conflict so dramatically with good politics as in the practice of subsidies to food and energy. Economics textbooks explain that these subsidies are lose-lose policies. In the political world, that can sound like an ivory tower abstraction. But the issue of unaffordable subsidies happens to be front and centre politically this summer, in a number of places around the world. Three major new leaders in particular are facing this challenge: Sisi in Egypt, Jokowi in Indonesia, and Modi in India.

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Topics:  Development Energy Politics and economics Poverty and income inequality

Tags:  subsidies, fuel subsidies, food subsidies, Agriculture, energy, Egypt, Indonesia, India, Poverty, environment, trade, WTO, Doha Round, Bali

More to do on measuring hunger

Joachim De Weerdt, Kathleen Beegle, Jed Friedman, John Gibson 18 February 2014

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One of the first Millennium Development Goals is to reduce hunger by half between 1990 and 2015. To date, the global hunger count has fallen slightly, from 1 billion in 1990–1992 to 870 million in 2010–2012 (Food and Agriculture Organization 2013). As a proportion of the world’s population, this is just a one-third fall in the hunger rate, from 19% to 13%. In contrast, the other highly visible Millennium Development Goal – reducing extreme poverty by half – was achieved by 2010.

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Topics:  Poverty and income inequality

Tags:  development, Africa, Poverty, Millennium Development Goals, food, hunger, measurement error, surveys, Tanzania

The Great Escape: Health, wealth and the origins of inequality

Angus Deaton interviewed by Viv Davies,

Date Published

Fri, 01/10/2014

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See Also

The Great Escape: health, wealth and the origins of inequality, by Angus Deaton (Princeton University Press, October 2013).

"The Future of Inequality"; an essay by John McDermott in the Financial Times, 11 October 2013.

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Topics

Poverty and income inequality Productivity and Innovation
Tags
productivity, Inequality, Poverty

Related Article(s)

Inequality in China Prosperity and Poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean Growing like China: understanding the puzzle of China's economic transition Nutritional impact of India’s food subsidy programme
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October 2013

Prosperity and Poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean

Louise Cord, Leonardo Lucchetti, Carlos Rodríguez Castelán, Adam Ratzlaff 23 December 2013

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The Latin America and Caribbean region (LAC) has long been considered the most unequal region in the world. Regardless of whether this stems from a legacy of colonisation or is a 20th century phenomenon (Williamson 2009), the fact remains that the region has some of the highest levels of inequality in the world. However, over the past 15 years both poverty and inequality have declined sharply throughout the region. This marks the first time in the region’s history when both have seen a prolonged and substantial reduction, a phenomenon explored in many recent VoxEU columns (e.g.

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Topics:  Poverty and income inequality

Tags:  Inequality, Poverty, Latina America and Caribbean region

Do food prices respond to oil-price shocks?

Christiane Baumeister, Lutz Kilian 30 November 2013

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Increases in agricultural commodity prices and food prices in recent years have raised concerns among policymakers about a global food shortage. For example, the director of the International Food Policy Research Institute testified in 2008 that rising prices for agricultural crops were causing food riots in many developing countries, and that, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 37 countries were facing food crises (Rosegrant 2008).

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Topics:  Global economy

Tags:  Commodity prices, Poverty, oil, food, biofuel, ethanol

Growth still is good for the poor

David Dollar, Tatjana Kleineberg, Aart Kraay 19 November 2013

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With the formulation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda in full swing, it is important to reassess how and to what extent new development challenges should be reflected in the agenda. A key part of the soon-expiring Millennium Development Goals aimed at halving absolute poverty – as defined by the World Bank's $1.25/day standard – between 1990 and 2015. This goal was reached in 2010 – five years ahead of schedule – when the global poverty headcount hit the 21% mark (United Nations 2013).

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Topics:  Development

Tags:  development, growth, Inequality, Poverty, Millennium Development Goals, World Bank

African polygamy: Past and present

James Fenske 09 November 2013

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Polygamy and poverty are both widespread in sub-Saharan Africa.1 Several arguments have been made suggesting this correlation is causal. Scholars have suggested, for example, that polygamy crowds out productive investment (Tertilt 2005), reduces investment in girls’ education (Edlund and Lagerlöf 2006) or diminishes the labour supply of unmarried men (Edlund and Lagerlöf 2012).

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Topics:  Development Economic history Poverty and income inequality

Tags:  growth, Africa, slave trade, fertility, Poverty, polygamy

Lessons from a history of thought on poverty

Martin Ravallion 13 August 2013

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Over the last 200 years the world as a whole has seen a marked decline in the incidence of absolute poverty (Sala-i-Martin and Pinkovskiy 2010 ). The success of Western Europe and North America over the 19th and 20th Centuries in reducing absolute poverty is well-known, as is the success of China and India in more recent times. We have also seen encouraging signs of faster progress against poverty in much of Africa since the late 1990s.

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Topics:  Development Economic history

Tags:  Poverty

Did trade-policy responses to food-price spikes reduce poverty?

Kym Anderson, Maros Ivanic , Will Martin 03 August 2013

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Food prices in international markets have spiked three times in the past five years: in mid-2008, early 2011 and mid-2012 (Figure 1). The first prompted urban riots in dozens of developing countries when rice prices more than doubled. It may even have contributed to the unrest that led to the Arab Spring.

Figure 1. Monthly real food price indexes in international markets, 2000 to June 2013 (2002-04 = 100)

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Topics:  Development International trade

Tags:  trade policy, Poverty, food prices

Rising regional inequality in China: Fact or artefact?

John Gibson, Chao Li 09 August 2012

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A growing literature uses sub-national data from China to measure trends in regional inequality and to test models of economic growth and convergence. Most published studies use provincial-level data although finer spatial scales, such as prefectures (Roberts et al. 2012) and counties (Banerjee et al. 2012), are starting to be used. But regardless of scale, most authors ignore that China’s local GDP per capita data cannot be interpreted in the way that economists would expect, of measuring value-added or output per resident.

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Topics:  Development Poverty and income inequality

Tags:  China, Inequality, Poverty

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