household income

Date of publication
August 2013
Geographical focus

The report is intended to determine the
appropriateness of the social protection system in meeting
the needs of the poor in Ukraine, and what are the changes
which can be instituted to improve such system. To this end,
the report presents the poverty measurement in the country,
assesses current social programs, and suggests a framework
for system redesign. In particular, it points at the
challenge of a transition economy, in realizing that poverty
does appear even among the employed population, while
childhood poverty does indeed affect the future of a nation.
The study presents the survey methodology, based on a
household survey, measures of income and expenditure, and of
inequality, examining the poverty line through a
multivariate analysis of poverty risks in the country,
including housing subsidies, energy arrears, in addition to
war entitlements and privileges. It finds that the Ukrainian
social support system could address social needs well, as it
has sufficient resources to do so, though currently, it does
so poorly. Thus resource allocation needs to be improved, by
targeting categorical benefits, testing asset and income
potential, as well as using indicators to substitute for the
direct measurement of income. An additional quantitative
analysis will be required to better plan management, and
effective evaluation, in addition to a system redesign to
reduce funding for poorly targeted programs, while
increasing social funding at large. A strategy is proposed
to phase-in a social assistance reform over a four-year
period, supported by the Bank.

Date of publication
August 2012
Geographical focus

A social assessment was done during the
preparation of Tajikistan's Pilot Poverty Alleviation
Project to answer several key questions: What are the poor
people's priority needs and wants? Why are they poor?
What are their own strategies for improving their lives?
And how can they be helped to improve their circumstances?
By answering these questions, the social assessment helped
the project team incorporate poor people's priorities
for poverty alleviation, identify nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs) whose scaled-up programs would form
part of the project, understand and address risks to project
success, build local capacity to carry out participatory
research, and influence the national dialogue on poverty and
the potential role of small-scale, participatory
microprojects for poverty alleviation. The Pilot Poverty
Alleviation Project is designed to improve poor
people's lives by scaling-up international NGO programs
and financing small, participatory microprojects through the
recently established Tajikistan Social Investment Fund.

Date of publication
August 2013
Geographical focus

The people of Swaziland are its greatest
resource. Yet, social and economic indicators of household
welfare converge to confirm fundamental inequalities in
access to incomes and assets, and the existence of
significant poverty and deprivation. Furthermore, as the
regional economic and social climate is transformed, the
fragile gains of the past are being fast eroded. At this
historic juncture, the Swazi poor need to come to the fore
of the public policy framework. There is an urgent need to
catalyze a new pattern of pro-poor development in Swaziland
where the poor participate and share fully in growth, human
development, and social protection. The report calls for
prioritizing the following actions: 1) enabling the growth
of smallholder agriculture, 2) ensuring effective human
development investments, 3) insuring the poor against major
risks, and 4) strengthening institutions to increase the
poverty impact of policies. The achievement of all these
will require fundamental change across sectors and
leadership to carry forward the change.

Date of publication
August 2013
Geographical focus

This report is intended as an input into
the Philippine Government's poverty eradication
strategy. The report aims to update our understanding of the
nature of poverty and the recent progress in poverty
reduction in the Philippines. It examines the extent to
which growth in the nineties has translated into poverty
reduction and analyzes how well publicly-provided social
services reach the poor and whether redistributive policies
attain their objectives. The report also focuses on the
social impact of the recent financial/El Nino crises and
explores policies to reduce vulnerability in the
Philippines. The report comprises two volumes. The main
volume starts with a summary of the profile of the poor and
trends in poverty. It then proposes a framework for
attacking poverty built on three pillars: 1) promoting
opportunity for poor people through generating broad-based
growth and building up the assets of the poor; 2) enhancing
security of poor people through reducing vulnerability and
helping the poor manage risks; and 3) facilitating
empowerment of poor people to ensure accountable
institutions. Finally, the main report examines the
information base for pro-poor policies and offers
suggestions for future work. The second volume provides the
detailed analytical basis for many of the findings presented
in the main report.

Date of publication
August 2013
Geographical focus

The report updates the poverty situation
in Armenia, largely based on the Integrated Living
Conditions Survey conducted during 1998-99, and provides as
well, the foundation for the preparation of the Poverty
Reduction Strategy. The poverty profile identifies a
widespread, and still deep poverty incidence, but while this
poverty seems persistent, its depth and severity may be
decreasing, and extreme poverty subsiding. Notwithstanding
the fact that estimates point to a stabilization of the
poverty profile, there are identified population groups
facing particularly high poverty risk, i.e., very young
children and the elderly, unemployed and adults not
participating in the labor market, and people residing in
high altitude and earthquake regions. Factors behind the
persistence of poverty in Armenia are: low income and high
inequality in its distribution; growth which did not
generate sufficient employment opportunities; and, the
impact of the Russian crisis during the period under review.
Recommendations call for the implementation of regular
integrated household surveys (quarterly), and, include the
need to focus on generating more job opportunities, by
creating an environment conducive to private sector
development, i.e., small and medium scale enterprises; and,
increase public spending on quality education, and health,
while pursuing ongoing reforms, namely, in health management
and finance.

Date of publication
July 2013
Geographical focus

This report reviews poverty in Armenia
in 2001, and examines the most recent trends covering the
1998/99 to 2001 period. It looks at the determinants of
poverty, and analyzes linkages between economic growth,
sector policies and poverty. The findings are based on two
rounds of the Armenia Integrated Living Conditions Survey
(ILCS), one carried out in 1998/99, and the other in 2001.
The report has contributed to the development of
Armenia's national strategy for growth and poverty
reduction. Poverty is high in Armenia, with an estimated 48
percent of the population below the poverty line in 2001.
Despite some 20 percent still living in extreme poverty,
there has been nonetheless, a significant decline in
poverty, as poverty incidence dropped by 12 percent, and
extreme poverty incidence by 25 percent from their
respective levels in 1998/99. There is a strong correlation
between poverty and low educational attainment, while the
unemployed and non-participants in the labor market, face
the highest poverty risk, depth and severity of poverty. In
rural areas, poverty is positively correlated with the size
of landholdings. The drop in poverty reflects a decline in
urban poverty since 1998/99. Rural poverty has increased
slightly. Yerevan, the capital and largest urban area in
Armenia, registered the most significant reduction in
poverty, as poverty incidence there dropped by 23 percent
and extreme poverty by over a third, to 45 percent and 20
percent, respectively. While poverty in other urban areas
also decreased, their poverty incidence still remains above
the national rate, at 52 percent. Poverty incidence is now
roughly the same in urban and rural areas, 48.5 percent and
47.9 percent, respectively. Government policies aimed at
macroeconomic stability and diversification of the economy
should be pursued, and, recommendations further include
increasing the level and quality of education, and ensuring
better health for all, critical to reduce poverty.
Concerning social protection, consideration should be given
to expanding it to cover most of the extremely poor, as well
as refining targeting mechanisms.

Date of publication
July 2015
Geographical focus

Vietnam's ethnic minorities, who tend to
live mostly in remote rural areas, typically have lower
living standards than the ethnic majority. How much is this
because of differences in economic characteristics (such as
education levels and land) rather than low returns to
characteristics? Is there a self-reinforcing culture of
poverty in the minority groups, reflecting patterns of past
discrimination? The authors find that differences in levels
of living are due in part to the fact that the minorities
live in less productive areas characterized by difficult
terrain, poor infrastructure, less access to off-farm work
and the market economy, and inferior access to education.
Geographic disparities tend to persist because of immobility
and regional differences in living standards. But the
authors also find large differences within geographical
areas even after controlling for household characteristics.
They find differences in returns to productive
characteristics to be the most important explanation for
ethnic inequality. But the minorities do not obtain lower
returns to all characteristics. There is evidence of
compensating behavior. For example, pure returns to
location--even in remote, inhospitable areas--tend to be
higher for minorities, though not high enough to overcome
the large consumption difference with the majority. The
majority ethnic groups' model of income generation is a poor
guide on how to fight poverty among ethnic minority groups.
Nor is it enough to target poor areas to redress ethnic
inequality. Policies must be designed to reach minority
households in poor areas and to explicitly recognize
behavior patterns (including compensating behavior) that
have served the minorities well in the short term but
intensify ethnic inequalities in the longer term. It will be
important to open up options for minority groups both by
ensuring that they are not disadvantaged (in labor markets,
for example), and by changing the conditions that have
caused their isolation and social exclusion.

Date of publication
January 2015
Geographical focus

Countries receiving debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative will be among the first to benefit from the new World Bank -- International Monetary Fund approach to strengthening the impact on poverty of concessional assistance in low-income countries. The new approach features a more inclusive and participatory process for helping recipient countries develop poverty reduction strategies. From these strategies, joint Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) will bring together the country's own priorities and Bank-Fund assistance to the country. In Uganda, such a strategy has existed for several years. Uganda was one of the first low-income countries to prepare a comprehensive national strategy for poverty reduction using a participatory approach. Indeed, its experience contributed substantially to the design of the PRSPs. Uganda's top leadership is heavily committed to poverty reduction. Formulation of Uganda's Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) in 1996-97 was the executive branch's effort to make that commitment and vision operational. The authors draw lessons from the drafting of Uganda's PEAP. First, the plan made extensive use of existing data and research about Uganda to refocus a range of public policies and interventions relevant to poverty reduction. Second, the government's approach was highly participatory, with central and local governments, the donor community, nongovernmental organizations and civil society, and academics invited to contribute. Third, the government was quick to translate the plan into its budget and medium-term spending framework. Public expenditures on basic services were significantly increased after adoption of the PEAP in 1997. The authors discuss the general characteristics of a poverty reduction action plan, drawing on Uganda's experience; discuss what is known about poverty in Uganda and identify shortcomings in the data; examine the macroeconomic and fiscal policies that were considered most important to poverty reduction during the participatory process; discuss the delivery of public services, especially those that directly affect the poor; and highlight problems associated with land issues, including problems with access to credit and financial services and with the security of productive assets.

Date of publication
July 2013
Geographical focus

Poverty is the central development issue
in Tajikistan. The country is now one of the poorest in the
world. It was made worse by the civil conflict in the early
1990s. This report suggests that there should be four key
pillars to a poverty reduction program strategy: a) the
stimulation of high labor productivity and economic growth;
b) the provision of basic social services; c) the targeting
of assistance to the poorest; and d) the development of a
well-governed and safe environment. The report recommends
the following: 1) further analysis should be undertaken of
the incidence of public spending, to ensure that key
programs are adequately funded and that spending contributes
as much as possible to poverty reduction. 2) The Government
should set specific targets for welfare indicators and
poverty reduction. 3) A list should be compiled of possible
projects of a targeted program of interventions that could
impact rapidly on poverty; the projects should be fully
costed and implementation arrangements studied. 4)
Alternative funding sources, including the Government's
own budget and external donors, should be explored for the
financing of the list of possible targeted interventions.

Date of publication
August 2014
Geographical focus

Geographic targeting is perhaps the most
popular mechanism used to direct social programs to the poor
in Latin America. The author empirically compares geographic
targeting indicators available in Peru. He combines
household-level information from the 1994 and 1997 Peru
Living Standards Measurement Surveys and district-level
information from the 1993 Peru Population and Housing
Census. He then conducts a series of simulations that
estimate leakage rates; concentration curves; the impact of
transfers on poverty as measured by the headcount index,
poverty gap, and [poverty] measures of the
Foster-Greer-Thorbecke family; and nonparametric (kernal)
densities when transfers are based on alternative
indicators. He concludes that there is substantial potential
for geographic targeting in Peru. The differences in
outcomes across geographic targeting indicators are small
and not statistically significant.


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