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Global Development Institute

WP198/2014

Dynamic and Long-term Linkages among Growth, Inequality and Poverty in Developing Countries

Katsushi S. Imai and Raghav Gaiha

Drawing upon a cross-country panel data for developing countries, the present study sheds new empirical light on dynamic and long-term linkages among growth, inequality and poverty. First, agricultural sector growth is found to be consistently the most important factor in reducing inequality and poverty not only through its direct effects but also through its indirect effects. Second, there is a significant and negative association between inequality and GDP per capita, with macro institutional quality as one of the important factors in determining the inequality-growth relationship. Third, policies designed to prevent conflicts and mitigate their disruptive effects and violence, stabilise commodity prices, and enhance institutional quality would help eliminate worst forms of deprivation. Our analysis points to a drastic shift away from rural- urban migration and urbanisation as main drivers of growth and elimination of extreme poverty, and towards revival of agriculture in the post-2015 policy discourse. Indeed, the case for urbanisation rests on not just shaky empirical foundations but could mislead policy makers and donors.