Getting the Story Right: Growth, Redistribution, and Poverty Alleviation in the Philippines

Arsenio M. Balisacan


The available data on poverty are inadequate in forming a policy discussion on the growth-inequity-poverty nexus in the Philippines. The approach employed to generate the data yields inconsistent raking of spatial and intertemporal poverty profiles. This paper uses a spatially consistent approach to estimating poverty standards for the Philippines. It employs these standards to examine the proximate causes of the changes in sectoral and spatial poverty from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, focusing particularly on the relative impact of growth and distributional changes. It finds that, contrary to popular perceptions, recent episodes of growth have not been anti-poor. The bulk of the poverty reduction in recent years has come from the beneficial effects of growth on the poor, though the importance of growth in poverty alleviation varies greatly across administrative regions and sectors of the economy

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