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CGD Policy Blogs


The World Bank’s New Global Poverty Line

This week saw the release of the World Bank’s updated global poverty counts. There is new country-level data on poverty and inequality underlying these revisions. But the big change is that the numbers are now anchored to the 2011 Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) rates for consumption from the International Comparisons Program (ICP). Previously the numbers were based on the prior ICP round for 2005.

A Better Measure of Shared Prosperity

One of the World Bank’s two goals for developing countries is to “share prosperity,” which it measures by the growth rate in mean consumption (or income) for the poorest 40 percent of the population. That metric has the appeal of simplicity, but it tells us nothing at all about how rising prosperity — or economic contraction — is being shared among the poorest 40 percent.

India’s Puzzling New PPP

Last week saw the release of the new 2011 Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) rates for GDP produced by the International Comparison Program (ICP). The ICP is a major global statistical operation. The Global Office is housed in the World Bank but the ICP is implemented separately in each region by designated regional counterparts.

Why $12,616?

You may have seen the small flurry of media attention given last week to the World Bank’s July 1 posting of its latest country classification by income. These are used extensively by the Bank in both its operations and its data products, such as the hugely popular World Development Indicators, as well as by many others outside the Bank. They influence aid allocations (both multilateral and bilateral).

Cutting Development Assistance after a Coup May Be Bad Response

Cutting development assistance to a country after some negative political shock is undoubtedly a well-intentioned effort by donors to incentivize better political institutions. Aid donors do not want to be seen to support coups, which would come with reputational and political risks at home. Instead, the argument is made that donors should offer a carrot and a stick to developing countries to encourage better institutions.