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Global poverty is decreasing, but billions of people still do not have the resources they need to survive and thrive. Economic growth can reduce poverty, but it can also drive inequality that generates social and economic problems. And efforts at domestic resource mobilization through taxation, though critical to funding the SDGs, can negatively impact the poor. In this work, CGD experts offer suggestions to improve how the world tracks and tackles poverty and the inequities the international global system creates.
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The paper critically reviews the arguments for and against both employment guarantees and income guarantees when viewed as rights-based policy instruments for poverty reduction in a developing economy, with special reference to India. Evidence on India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act does not suggest that the potential for either providing work when needed or reducing current poverty is being realized, despite pro-poor targeting. Instead, work is often rationed by local leaders in poor areas, and the poverty impact is small when all the costs are considered.
Drawing on six sweeps of household surveys of Nigeria that together span 1980–2010 with a pooled sample size of about 97,000 households and data on Nigeria’s age-gender-specific life expectancy from the World Health Organization, this paper shows that about 72 percent to 91 percent of Nigeria’s poor are at risk of spending their entire life below the poverty line.
A large proportion of revenue gains over the last two decades has come from countries’ efforts to improve the design and compliance of consumption and other indirect taxes, particularly the VAT (value-added tax); in doing so, the objective has been to minimize VAT’s regressive effects by exempting sales of small businesses below a threshold (where the poor typically tend to buy) as well as imposing zero tax on certain food and other products which take up a large proportion of consumption of poor households. Less attention has gone to expanding the coverage of potentially more progressive taxes, such as personal income and property taxes.
New results from a famous experiment in Kenya have sparked heated debate over whether lump-sum cash transfers have any long-term benefits for those who get them, or even do harm to neighbors who don’t.
The United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) bold four-year Strategic Plan sets out to deliver solutions to end extreme poverty, reduce inequality, and build resilience to crises in order to help countries achieve the 2030 Agenda. But as the UN system grapples with funding challenges, as private finance is further mobilized for development, and as technological advances shape the development landscape, what is UNDP’s comparative advantage? We look forward to discussing these issues with UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner and key stakeholders.
Understanding the rise in poverty in Nigeria is one issue; understanding the forces behind the north-south poverty divide is another. In this blog post, I consider the question: Why is poverty so much greater in the north of Nigeria than in the south?