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 4. Rising from the Ashes of Conflict
    (Washington, DC: World Bank and Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) Narayan, Deepa
    Lifting people out of poverty is one of the great challenges facing the international community today. It has become still more daunting in the context of the global financial crisis, which has severe implications for the poorest people in the world. Almost 1.4 billion people in developing countries live in poverty, according to recent estimates by the World Bank, and a significant part of this population lives in chronic poverty. This is the fourth in a series of volumes emerging from the global moving out of poverty study, which explores mobility from the perspectives of poor people who have moved out of poverty in more than 500 communities across 15 countries. The research on conflict-affected countries was managed by the global development network in partnership with the World Bank. This volume examines the social, political, and economic institutions facing poor people in post-conflict environments, where lives have been turned upside down by violence and instability. Based on original evidence from over a hundred communities in seven countries, the study documents the strategies that poor people use to cope with and move out of poverty, and it concludes with important policy recommendations.
  • Publication
    Moving Out of Poverty : Volume 2. Success from the Bottom Up
    (Washington, DC: World Bank and Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) Narayan, Deepa; Kapoor, Soumya
    The global moving out of poverty study is unique in several respects. It is one of the few large-scale comparative research efforts to focus on mobility out of poverty rather than on poverty alone. The study draws together the experiences of poor women and men who have managed to move out of poverty over time and the processes and local institutions that have helped or hindered their efforts. It is also the first time that a World Bank report draws on people's own understanding of freedom, democracy, equality, empowerment, and aspirations-and how these affect poor people in different growth, social, and political contexts. By giving primacy to people's own experiences and how they define poverty, the study provides several new insights to develop more effective strategies to reduce poverty. The study finds that poor people take lots of initiative, in many cases even more than those who are better off. There are millions and millions of tiny poor entrepreneurs. The investment climate of these tiny entrepreneurs has not been a centerpiece of poverty strategies. Too often, poor people do not face a level playing field. Despite the micro credit revolution, poor people remain outside of most financial services; and large lenders remain reluctant to lend to micro enterprises and micro entrepreneurs. New institutional models and financial instruments are needed to serve poor people's financial needs and give them the capital they need to expand their businesses and connect to markets.
  • 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.