Ms. Valerie Cerra, Mr. Ruy Lama, and Norman Loayza
Is there a tradeoff between raising growth and reducing inequality and poverty? This paper reviews the theoretical and empirical literature on the complex links between growth, inequality, and poverty, with causation going in both directions. The evidence suggests that growth can be effective in reducing poverty, but its impact on inequality is ambiguous and depends on the underlying sources of growth. The impact of poverty and inequality on growth is likewise ambiguous, as several channels mediate the relationship. But most plausible mechanisms suggest that poverty and inequality reduce growth, at least in the long run. Policies play a role in shaping these relationships and those designed to improve equality of opportunity can simultaneously improve inclusiveness and growth.
Absolute poverty has dropped markedly in Bulgaria but income inequality has increased substantially in the aftermath of the GFC. This increase is due to a rise in market income inequality that was compounded by a reduction in fiscal redistribution. The redistributive role of direct taxation has declined with the introduction of a flat tax and social spending is relatively low and decreasing (as a share of GDP), is concentrated on a few social risks, and experienced a decline in its redistributive efficiency. The COVID-19 crisis is likely to deepen income inequality, increasing the room for redistributive policies.
The study examines empirical relationships between income inequality and three features of finance: depth (financial sector size relative to the economy), inclusion (access to and use of financial services by individuals and firms), and stability (absence of financial distress). Using new data covering a wide range of countries, the analysis finds that the financial sector can play a role in reducing inequality, complementing redistributive fiscal policy. By expanding the provision of financial services to low-income households and small businesses, it can serve as a powerful lever in helping create a more inclusive society but—if not well managed—it can amplify inequalities.
This paper reviews the significant macro-fiscal challenges posed by climate change in
Djibouti and the costs of mitigation and adaptation policies. The paper concludes that
Djibouti is susceptible to climate change and related costs are potentially large. Investing
now in adaptation and mitigation has large benefits in terms of reducing the related costs in
the future. Reforms to generate the fiscal space are therefore needed and investment for
mitigation and adaptation to climate change should be built into the long-term fiscal
projections. Finally, concerted international efforts and stepping up regional cooperation
could help moderate climate-related macro-fiscal risks.
Tingyun Chen, Mr. Jean-Jacques Hallaert, Mr. Alexander Pitt, Mr. Haonan Qu, Mr. Maximilien Queyranne, Alaina Rhee, Ms. Anna Shabunina, Jérôme Vandenbussche, and Irene Yackovlev
This SDN studies the evolution of inequality across age groups leading up to and since the global financial crisis, as well as implications for fiscal and labor policies. Europe’s population is aging, child and youth poverty are rising, and income support systems are often better equipped to address old-age poverty than the challenges faced by poor children and/or unemployed youth today.
The paper suggests an operationally usable framework for the evaluation of growth
inclusiveness—the inclusive growth framework (IGF). Based on the data on growth, poverty,
and inequality, the framework allows for the quantitative assessment of growth inclusiveness.
The assessment relies on the decomposition of the change in poverty into growth, distribution,
and decile effects, which can be calculated using the Distributive Analysis Stata Package
(DASP). Availability of at least two household surveys is the main precondition for the use of
the IGF. The application of the IGF is illustrated with two country cases of Senegal and
The paper examines the poverty-reducing and distributional characteristics of Djibouti’s economic growth, and discusses policies that might help make growth more inclusive. It covers the period between 2002 and 2013, for which comparable household surveys are available. The main findings are that while in the past decade the overall level of poverty in Djibouti declined, there have been no clear signs of improvements in either equality or growth inclusiveness. Growth has not been inclusive and benefitted mainly those in the upper part of the income distribution. These conclusions should be treated as indicative. Progress in poverty reduction and inclusiveness would require not only sustained high growth but also the creation of opportunities in sectors with high earning potential for the poor. Better targeted social policies and more attention to the regional distribution of spending would also help reduce poverty and improve inclusiveness.