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Working Paper

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Is growth good for the poor? In theory, yes. As one influential report on China’s “War on Poverty” suggested, ”Obviously robust economic growth helps reduce poverty, as long as the gains are reasonably distributed” (Rozelle et al. 2000). In practice as well, growth is often a crucial ingredient in the poverty reduction recipe. While this relationship is well founded, important exceptions present themselves – some areas grow, but poverty persists; the economies of other areas remain apparently stagnant, yet poverty diminishes. These exceptions, if studied, will not only illuminate further the causal relationship between these two concepts, but also provide hope for areas for which few prospects of growth exist. This paper examines two neighboring poor Chinese provinces, which faced similar challenges and shared similar characteristics. One grew sluggishly, but the rural poor experienced striking improvement; the other grew rapidly, but its poor people saw few gains, a pattern that can be seen between at least 1991 to the present.


Asian Studies | Inequality and Stratification | Political Economy

Research Areas

Political Science

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Singapore Management University Social Science and Humanities Working Paper series No. 08-2006

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.