Are the World’s Poorest Being Left Behind?
The traditional approach to poverty measurement puts no explicit weight on success at increasing the typical level of living of the poorest—raising the consumption floor. To address this deficiency, the paper defines and measures the expected value of the floor, allowing for transient effects and measurement errors in survey data. On using all suitable and available surveys for the developing world over 1981-2011, the expected value of the floor is about half the $1.25 a day poverty line. There has been only modest progress in raising the floor, despite much progress in reducing the number living near the floor.
For helpful discussions on the topic of this paper and comments on the paper the author is grateful to Francois Bourguignon, Mary Ann Bronson, Cait Brown, Shaohua Chen, Denis Cogneau, Garance Genicot, Peter Lanjouw, Nkunde Mwase, Henry Richardson, Dominique van de Walle and seminar participants at the International Monetary Fund. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.