Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

The World Bank’s Poverty Statistics Lack Median Income Data, So We Filled In the Gap Ourselves — Download Available

PovcalNet, the World Bank’s global poverty database, provides all kinds of country statistics, including mean income, the share (and number) of the population living in absolute poverty ($1.90), the poverty gap and several measures of income inequality, such as the Gini coefficient. But one thing it doesn’t provide is median income or consumption. The median is a better measure of “typical” well-being than the mean, which is always skewed to the right.

We’ve been waiting for the World Bank to add these medians to its PovcalNet database, but we got impatient and did it ourselves. By manually running a few hundred queries in PovcalNet, we now have (and can share with you) the latest median income/consumption data for 144 countries (using 2011 PPPs — more on our methods below).

Davos Dreaming: Development without Development

It's that time of year again when presidents, CEOs and civil society leaders get together at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, leaving the rest of us to wonder whether it is really true that a small number of very rich people at the top of the income distribution own more than the bottom half of the world.

Give Aid to Poor People, Not Poor Places?

Prioritising poor countries to receive our foreign aid might prevent us from getting it to poor people. As my colleagues Owen Barder and Matt Juden discussed, the latest data shows that although 2014 was a record year for aid spending, there was a significant fall in the share going to least developed countries, which face the most urgent development challenges.

This trend is worrying. It also highlights deeper issues with the way aid is spent.

SDGs + USAID = EEP @ UNGA

Last week USAID, the world’s largest aid agency, released its Vision for Ending Extreme Poverty. That’s right, USAID (an agency not usually known for its foresight and strategic acumen) has already put forth its plan on how it intends to reorient the Agency to meet the call to end extreme poverty.

An End to Global Poverty: Philanthropy, Welfare Capitalism, or Radically Different Global Economic Model?

There have been numerous estimates of future poverty to 2030 based on projections of growth and inequality that rely on informed assumptions and guess work. With that method, no matter how carefully done, you’re almost certain to get it wrong. So Peter Edward and I decided to do something different: look back at growth and its distribution since 1990 and see what it would have taken to have ended global poverty by now based on the actual data.

When Does One Dime = 100 Million People?

Ending extreme poverty is likely to be one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. So it is a good idea to figure out what that entails. And it turns out that it’s become more complex in the last year or so. That’s because new price data, 2011 Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) estimates, were released in 2014 and the World Bank’s global poverty database, PovcalNet, also had a substantial update.

Related Research

SDG One: First Fix the Goalposts

This is the latest in a series of CGD blogs suggesting improvements to the SDG targets.

The first target of the first goal of the Sustainable Development Goals is to “eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere” by 2030.  The second target is to “reduce at least by half the proportion of…. [people] living in poverty…..according to national definitions.”  

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