Lanjouw, Peter Frederik

Poverty and Inequality Team, Development Economics Research Group, World Bank
Profile Picture
Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
Poverty and Inequality Analysis; Rural Development; Small Area Estimation; Village Studies
Poverty and Inequality Team, Development Economics Research Group, World Bank
Externally Hosted Work
Contact Information
Last updated: January 31, 2023
Peter Lanjouw, a Dutch national, is Research Manager of the Poverty and Inequality Team in the Development Economics Research Group of the World Bank. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Amsterdam Institute of International Development, Netherlands. He completed his Ph.D. in economics from the London School of Economics in 1992. From August 2003 until August 2005, he was a visiting scholar at the Agriculture and Resource Economics department at UC Berkeley, and he held the appointment of Professor of Economics at the VU University of Amsterdam between September 1998 and May 2000. He has taught in the Masters in Development Economics program at the University of Namur, Belgium and has also taught at the Foundation for the Advanced Study of International Development in Tokyo, Japan. His research focuses on various aspects of poverty and inequality measurement as well as on rural development issues.  
Citations 52 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 28
  • Publication
    How Accurate Is a Poverty Map Based on Remote Sensing Data?: An Application to Malawi
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-09) Van Der Weide, Roy; Blankespoor, Brian; Elbers, Chris; Lanjouw, Peter
    This paper assesses the reliability of poverty maps derived from remote-sensing data. Employing data for Malawi, it first obtains small area estimates of poverty by combining the Malawi household expenditure survey from 2010/11 with unit record population census data from 2008. It then ignores the population census data and obtains a second poverty map for Malawi by combining the survey data with predictors of poverty derived from remote sensing data. This allows for a clean comparison between the two poverty maps. The findings are encouraging - although that assessment depends somewhat on the evaluation criteria employed. The two approaches reveal the same patterns in the geography of poverty. However, there are instances where the two approaches obtain markedly different estimates of poverty. Poverty maps obtained using remote sensing data may do well when the decision maker is interested in comparisons of poverty between assemblies of areas, yet may be less reliable when the focus is on estimates for specific small areas.
  • Publication
    The Interplay of Regional and Ethnic Inequalities in Malaysian Poverty Dynamics
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-01) Rongen, Gerton; Ali Ahmad, Zainab; Lanjouw, Peter; Simler, Kenneth
    This study employs a synthetic panel approach based on nationally representative micro-level data to track poverty and income mobility in Malaysia in 2004–16. On aggregate, there were large reductions in chronic poverty and increases in persistent economic security, but those who remained poor in 2016 were increasingly likely to be poor in a structural sense. Further, the poverty and income dynamics differ notably across geographic dimensions. Such disparities are most striking when comparing affluent urban Peninsular Malaysia with poorer rural East Malaysia. Although there are important differences in welfare levels between the main ethnic groups in Malaysia, the mobility trends generally point in the same direction. While the findings show that there is still scope for poverty reduction through the reduction of interethnic inequalities, the study underscores the importance of taking regional inequalities into account to ensure a fairer distribution of socioeconomic opportunities for poor and vulnerable Malaysians. Hence, addressing chronic poverty is likely to require additional attention to less developed geographic areas, as a complement to the current policies that are largely ethnicity-based.
  • Publication
    Measuring Poverty Dynamics with Synthetic Panels Based on Cross-Sections
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-06) Dang, Hai-Anh; Lanjouw, Peter
    Panel data conventionally underpin the analysis of poverty mobility over time. However, such data are not readily available for most developing countries. Far more common are the “snap-shots” of welfare captured by cross-section surveys. This paper proposes a method to construct synthetic panel data from cross sections which can provide point estimates of poverty mobility. In contrast to traditional pseudo-panel methods that require multiple rounds of cross-sectional data to study poverty at the cohort level, the proposed method can be applied to settings with as few as two survey rounds and also permits investigation at the more disaggregated household level. The procedure is implemented using cross-section survey data from several countries, spanning different income levels and geographical regions. Estimates fall within the 95 percent confidence interval— or even one standard error in many cases—of those based on actual panel data. The method is not only restricted to studying poverty mobility but can also accommodate investigation of other welfare outcome dynamics.
  • Publication
    Non-Farm Diversification, Poverty, Economic Mobility and Income Inequality : A Case Study in Village India
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-05) Himanshu; Lanjouw, Peter; Murgai, Rinku; Stern, Nicholas
    This paper assembles data at the all-India level and for the village of Palanpur, Uttar Pradesh, to document the growing importance, and influence, of the non-farm sector in the rural economy between the early 1980s and late 2000s. The suggestion from the combined National Sample Survey and Palanpur data is of a slow process of non-farm diversification, whose distributional incidence, on the margin, is increasingly pro-poor. The village-level analysis documents that the non-farm sector is not only increasing incomes and reducing poverty, but appears as well to be breaking down long-standing barriers to mobility among the poorest segments of rural society. Efforts by the government of India to accelerate the process of diversification could thus yield significant returns in terms of declining poverty and increased income mobility. The evidence from Palanpur also shows, however, that at the village-level a significant increase in income inequality has accompanied diversification away from the farm. A growing literature argues that such a rise in inequality could affect the fabric of village society, the way in which village institutions function and evolve, and the scope for collective action at the village level. Failure to keep such inequalities in check could thus undermine the pro-poor impacts from the process of structural transformation currently underway in rural India.
  • Publication
    Vietnam's Evolving Poverty Map : Patterns and Implications for Policy
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-02) Lanjouw, Peter; Nguyen, Cuong
    This paper uses small area estimation techniques to update Vietnam's province and district-level poverty map to 2009. It finds that poverty rates continue to be highest in the northern and central mountainous regions, where ethnic minorities make up a large fraction of the population. Poverty has fallen in most provinces and districts over this decade, but the pace of poverty reduction has been least pronounced in those localities with high initial poverty or inequality levels. As a result, poverty rates have become more spatially concentrated over time, which is consistent with widely observed growth processes linked to agglomeration. The authors hypothesize that this makes geographic targeting of the poor more relevant as a means to re-balance growing welfare disparities between geographic areas. Simulations indicate that in both 1999 and 2009, geographic targeting for poverty alleviation improves upon a uniform lump-sum transfer and this becomes more evident the more spatially disaggregated the target populations. The analysis further indicates that the gains from geographic targeting have become more pronounced over time in Vietnam. Although poverty reduction in Vietnam has been impressive, further progress may thus warrant increased attention to geographic targeting.
  • Publication
    Is There a Metropolitan Bias? The Relationship between Poverty and City Size in a Selection of Developing Countries
    (Oxford University Press on behalf of the World Bank, 2012-11) Ferre, Celine; Ferreira, Francisco H.G.; Lanjouw, Peter
    This paper provides evidence from eight developing countries of an inverse relationship between poverty and city size. Poverty is both more widespread and deeper in very small and small towns than in large or very large cities. This basic pattern is generally robust to the choice of poverty line. The paper shows, further, that for all eight countries, a majority of the urban poor live in medium, small or very small towns. Moreover, it is shown that the greater incidence and severity of consumption poverty in smaller towns is generally compounded by similarly greater deprivation in terms of access to basic infrastructure services, such as electricity, heating gas, sewerage and solid waste disposal. We illustrate for one country – Morocco – that inequality within large cities is not driven by a severe dichotomy between slum dwellers and others. Robustness checks are performed to assess whether the findings in the paper hinge on a specific definition of “urban area”; are driven by differences in the cost of living across city-size categories; by reliance on an income-based concept of well-being; or by the application of small-area estimation techniques for estimating poverty rates at the town and city level.
  • Publication
    Intra-generational Mobility and Repeated Cross-Sections : A Three-country Validation Exercise
    (2011-12-01) Cruces, Guillermo; Lanjouw, Peter; Lucchetti, Leonardo; Perova, Elizaveta; Vakis, Renos; Viollaz, Mariana
    This paper validates a recently proposed method to estimate intra-generational mobility through repeated cross-sectional surveys. The technique allows the creation of a "synthetic panel" -- done by predicting future or past household income using a set of simple modeling and error structure assumptions -- and thus permits the estimation of lower and upper bounds on directional mobility measures. The authors validate the approach in three different settings where good panel data also exist (Chile, Nicaragua, and Peru). In doing so, they also carry out a number of refinements to the validation procedure. The results are broadly encouraging: the methodology performs well in all three settings, especially in cases where richer model specifications can be estimated. The technique does equally well in predicting short and long-term mobility patterns and is robust to a broad set of additional "stress" and sensitivity tests. Overall, the paper lends support to the application of this approach to settings where panel data are absent.
  • Publication
    Small Area Estimation-Based Prediction Methods to Track Poverty : Validation and Applications
    (2011-06-01) Christiaensen, Luc; Lanjouw, Peter
    Tracking poverty is predicated on the availability of comparable consumption data and reliable price deflators. However, regular series of strictly comparable data are only rarely available. Price deflators are also often missing or disputed. In response, poverty prediction methods that track consumption correlates as opposed to consumption itself have been developed. These methods typically assume that the estimated relation between consumption and its predictors is stable over time -- an assumption that cannot usually be tested directly. This study analyzes the performance of poverty prediction models based on small area estimation techniques. Predicted poverty estimates are compared with directly observed levels in two country settings where data comparability over time is not a problem. Prediction models that employ either non-staple food or non-food expenditures or a full set of assets as predictors are found to yield poverty estimates that match observed poverty well. This offers some support to the use of such methods to approximate the evolution of poverty. Two further country examples illustrate how an application of the method employing models based on household assets can help to adjudicate between alternative price deflators.
  • Publication
    Using Repeated Cross-Sections to Explore Movements in and out of Poverty
    (2011-01-01) Dang, Hai-Anh; Lanjouw, Peter; McKenzie, David
    Movements in and out of poverty are of core interest to both policymakers and economists. Yet the panel data needed to analyze such movements are rare. In this paper, the authors build on the methodology used to construct poverty maps to show how repeated cross-sections of household survey data can allow inferences to be made about movements in and out of poverty. They illustrate that the method permits the estimation of bounds on mobility, and provide non-parametric and parametric approaches to obtaining these bounds. They test how well the method works on data sets for Vietnam and Indonesia where we are able to compare our method to true panel estimates. The results are sufficiently encouraging to offer the prospect of some limited, basic, insights into mobility and poverty duration in settings where historically it was judged that the data necessary for such analysis were unavailable.
  • Publication
    Revisiting Between-Group Inequality Measurement: An Application to the Dynamics of Caste Inequality in Two Indian Villages
    (2011) Lanjouw, Peter; Rao, Vijayendra
    Standard approaches to decomposing how much group differences contribute to inequality rarely show significant between-group inequality, and are of limited use in comparing populations with different numbers of groups. We apply an adaptation to the standard approach that remedies these problems to longitudinal household data from two Indian villages-Palanpur in the north and Sugao in the west. In Palanpur we find that the largest Scheduled Caste group failed to share in the gradual rise in village prosperity. This would not have emerged from standard decomposition analysis. However, in Sugao the alternative procedure does not yield any additional insights because income gains have applied relatively evenly across castes.