Martin Ravallion, 05 May 2017

A universal basic income as a poverty-reduction policy is often contrasted unfavourably with targeted transfers. This column argues that five of the common arguments employed against basic income are really straw men that overstate the relative effectiveness of targeted transfers. While a universal basic income is not yet feasible in many countries, more universality and less fine targeting would create better social policies.  

Gaurav Datt, Martin Ravallion, Rinku Murgai, 26 March 2016

There has been much debate about the poverty impacts of economic growth and structural transformation in developing countries. This column revisits these issues using a newly constructed dataset of poverty measures for India spanning 60 years. There has been a downward trend in poverty measures since 1970, with an acceleration post-1991, despite rising inequality. Post-1991 data suggest stronger inter-sectoral linkages. Urban consumption growth came with gains to both the rural and urban poor. The primary/secondary/tertiary composition of growth has ceased to matter, as all three sectors contributed to poverty reduction.

Jesse Cunha, Giacomo De Giorgi, Seema Jayachandran, 26 September 2011

Should governments pay entitlements in cash or in kind to help reduce poverty? The authors of CEPR DP8581 find that cash transfers increase prices, especially in remote areas where the poorest consumers often live. In-kind transfers lower local prices, helping consumers at the expense of producers with a benefit equal to 11% of value of the transfer.

Robert Townsend, 10 December 2010

Robert Townsend of MIT talks about his research on how the lives of the world’s poor can be improved through more efficient financial systems. Drawing on data gathered from an extensive survey of Thai households, Townsend discusses risk-sharing and the importance of networks, the rate of saving and return on assets, and villages as small, open economies. The interview was recorded in London in November 2010. [Also read the transcript]

Pranab Bardhan, 28 May 2010

Pranab Bardhan of the University of California, Berkeley, talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his new book ‘Awakening Giants, Feet of Clay: Assessing the Economic Rise of China and India’. He argues that significant poverty reduction in both countries is mainly due to domestic factors – not global integration, as most would believe. The interview was recorded at the London School of Economics in May 2010.