Moving Out of Poverty

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The Moving Out of Poverty series presents the results of new comparative research across more than 500 communities in 15 countries on how and why poor people move out of poverty. The findings lay the foundations for new policies that will promote inclusive growth and just societies, and move millions out of poverty. The series was launched in 2007 under the editorial direction of Deepa Narayan. The final volume of the series was released in late 2009.

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  • Publication
    Moving Out of Poverty : Volume 3. The Promise of Empowerment and Democracy in India
    (Washington, DC: World Bank and Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) Narayan, Deepa
    This study focuses on people who moved out of poverty during the decade from 1995 to 2005 in rural areas of four Indian states: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal. It also considers people who have fallen into poverty, those who have remained poor, and some who have never been poor but who live alongside poor people in the same communities. The author started by setting aside official and expert opinions, ideologies of the right and left, and, to the extent possible, the beliefs and assumptions of the rich and the middle class, including the own preconceived notions. The study is unique in four ways. First, it examines changes in poverty status of the same households over time. Most poverty studies are snapshots of the poor taken at a particular point in time, with extrapolations made by comparing them with the rich at that same point in time. In the study, the author focus on understanding the dynamics of change by asking individuals to recall their life stories, particularly what happened to them over the past decade? Second, most poverty studies are conducted at the national, state, or district level. The author focuses on local communities, mainly villages, as the unit within which individuals and households are embedded. There is much variation between villages, even within a district, and our sampling strategy enables us to examine these community-level differences. Third, the author relies primarily on nonstandardized data collection methods, including life stories and discussion groups. The author complement these with data the author gather using household and community-level questionnaires. Finally, since the author deliberately adopted an open-ended approach, the author uses inductive methods to systematically aggregate data from life stories and individual discussions over 50,000 pages of notes. The author started with broad questions rather than a particular conceptual framework, but the author did impose a framework after six months of inductive data analyses, before starting the quantitative data analyses.
  • Publication
    Moving Out of Poverty : Volume 1. Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on Mobility
    (Washington, DC: World Bank and Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) Narayan, Deepa
    This volume brings together multidisciplinary perspectives on poor people's mobility, a dynamic approach that hopefully will add to the reader's understanding of how and why people move into and out of poverty. The chapters draw on the latest longitudinal micro data to present a moving picture of poverty that is rather different from what one can see in single snapshots, the staple of traditional poverty analysis. The book is also important because the contributors' distinct disciplinary perspectives demonstrate clearly why it is critical to draw on diverse information to improve the reader's understanding about how to reduce poverty. The economic findings reinforce what has been known for some time: fast economic growth underpins poverty reduction, but the speed of declines in poverty is greatly affected by social and political factors. The economic panels also show that the people mired in chronic poverty around the world are actually fewer in number than the people moving in and out of poverty. Static studies do not capture this dynamic quality of poverty and vulnerability. Of particular interest are the chapters clarifying interactions between the local social, political, and economic factors that underlie persistent poverty, vulnerability, and inequality. They point to the need to draw from different disciplines as we turn to the task of reaching the bottom poor trapped in poverty and those churning in and out of poverty.