Journal Article

Agricultural Growth and Poverty Reduction: Additional Evidence

Alain de Janvry and Elisabeth Sadoulet

in The World Bank Research Observer

Published on behalf of World Bank

Volume 25, issue 1, pages 1-20
Published in print February 2010 | ISSN: 0257-3032
Published online November 2009 | e-ISSN: 1564-6971 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/wbro/lkp015
Agricultural Growth and Poverty Reduction: Additional Evidence

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Agricultural growth has long been recognized as an important instrument for poverty reduction. Yet, measurements of this relationship are still scarce and not always reliable. The authors present additional evidence at both the sectoral and household levels based on recent data. Results show that rural poverty reduction has been associated with growth in yields and in agricultural labor productivity, but that this relation varies sharply across regional contexts. GDP growth originating in agriculture induces income growth among the 40 percent poorest, which is on the order of three times larger than growth originating in the rest of the economy. The power of agriculture comes not only from its direct poverty reduction effect but also from its potentially strong growth linkage effects on the rest of the economy. Decomposing the aggregate decline in poverty into a rural contribution, an urban contribution, and a population shift component shows that rural areas contributed more than half the observed aggregate decline in poverty. Finally, using the example of Vietnam, the authors show that rapid growth in agriculture has opened pathways out of poverty for farming households. While the effectiveness of agricultural growth in reducing poverty is well established, the effectiveness of public investment in inducing agricultural growth is still incomplete and conditional on context.

Keywords: O13; I31

Journal Article.  7219 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Welfare and Poverty ; Economic Development

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