Lanjouw, Peter Frederik
Poverty and Inequality Team, Development Economics Research Group, World Bank
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
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.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 10 of 27
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-01) Rongen, Gerton ; Ali Ahmad, Zainab ; Lanjouw, Peter ; Simler, KennethThis 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(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-02) Elbers, Chris ; Lanjouw, Peter ; Leite, Phillippe GeorgeThe small-area estimation technique developed for producing poverty maps has been applied in a large number of developing countries. Opportunities to formally test the validity of this approach remain rare due to lack of appropriately detailed data. This paper compares a set of predicted welfare estimates based on this methodology against their true values, in a setting where these true values are known. A recent study draws on Monte Carlo evidence to warn that the small-area estimation methodology could significantly over-state the precision of local-level estimates of poverty, if underlying assumptions of spatial homogeneity do not hold. Despite these concerns, the findings in this paper for the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, indicate that the small-area estimation approach is able to produce estimates of welfare that line up quite closely to their true values. Although the setting considered here would seem, a priori, unlikely to meet the homogeneity conditions that have been argued to be essential for the method, confidence intervals for the poverty estimates also appear to be appropriate. However, this latter conclusion holds only after carefully controlling for community-level factors that are correlated with household level welfare.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 1998-05) Hentschel, Jesko ; Lanjouw, PeterThis poverty note analyzes the usefulness of poverty maps, and how they can be constructed using census and survey data, for the use and benefit of policy makers to focus scarce development resources. The note goes on to describe various kinds of poverty maps, such as those based on indexes of welfare, basic needs indicators, and disaggregated consumption-based factors. Methodologies to create these maps, are further discussed at some length.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-02) Lanjouw, Peter ; Marra, Marleen ; Nguyen, CuongThis 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(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2005-08) Elbers, Chris ; Lanjouw, Peter ; Mistiaen, Johan A. ; Özler, BerkThe authors propose a modification to the conventional approach of decomposing income inequality by population sub-groups. Specifically, they propose a measure that evaluates observed between-group inequality against a benchmark of maximum between-group inequality that can be attained when the number and relative sizes of groups under examination are fixed. The authors argue that such a modification can provide a complementary perspective on the question of whether a particular population breakdown is salient to an assessment of inequality in a country. As their measure normalizes between-group inequality by the number and relative sizes of groups, it is also less subject to problems of comparability across different settings. The authors show that for a large set of countries their assessment of the importance of group differences typically increases substantially on the basis of this approach. The ranking of countries (or different population groups) can also differ from that obtained using traditional decomposition methods. Finally, they observe an interesting pattern of higher levels of overall inequality in countries where their measure finds higher between-group contributions.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-08) Araujo, M. Caridad ; Ferreira, Francisco H.G. ; Lanjouw, Peter ; Özler, BerkThis paper provides evidence consistent with elite capture of Social Fund investment projects in Ecuador. Exploiting a unique combination of data-sets on village-level income distributions, Social Fund project administration, and province level electoral results, the authors test a simple model of project choice when local political power is unequally distributed. In accordance with the predictions of the model, poorer villages are more likely to receive projects that provide excludable (private) goods to the poor, such as latrines. Controlling for poverty, more unequal communities are less likely to receive such projects. Consistent with the hypothesis of elite capture, these results are sensitive to the specific measure of inequality used in the empirical analysis, and are strongest for expenditure shares at the top of the distribution.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002-10) Elbers, Chris ; Lanjouw, Jean O. ; Lanjouw, PeterThe authors construct and derive the properties of estimators of welfare that take advantage of the detailed information about living standards available in small household surveys and the comprehensive coverage of a census or large sample. By combining the strengths of each, the estimators can be used at a remarkably disaggregated level. They have a clear interpretation, are mutually comparable, and can be assessed for reliability using standard statistical theory. Using data from Ecuador, the authors obtain estimates of welfare measures, some of which are quite reliable for populations as small as 15,000 households--a "town." They provide simple illustrations of their use. Such estimates open up the possibility of testing, at a more convincing intra-country level, the many recent models relating welfare distributions to growth and a variety of socioeconomic and political outcomes.
No Thumbnail AvailablePublication( 2008) Elbers, Chris ; Lanjouw, Peter ; Mistiaen, Johan A. ; Ozler, BerkWe evaluate observed inequality between population groups against a benchmark of the maximum between-group inequality attainable given the number and relative sizes of those groups under examination. Because our measure is normalized by these parameters, drawing comparisons across different settings is less problematic than with conventional inequality decompositions. Moreover, our measure can decline with finer sub-partitioning of population groups. Consequently, the exact manner in which one groups the population acquires greater significance. Survey data from various countries suggest that our approach can provide a complementary perspective on the question of whether (and how much) a particular population breakdown is salient to an assessment of inequality in a country.
Publication( 2011-12-01) Cruces, Guillermo ; Lanjouw, Peter ; Lucchetti, Leonardo ; Perova, Elizaveta ; Vakis, Renos ; Viollaz, MarianaThis 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.
Is There a Metropolitan Bias? The Inverse Relationship between Poverty and City Size in Selected Developing Countries( 2010-12-01) Ferre, Celine ; Ferreira, Francisco H.G. ; Lanjouw, PeterThis 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 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. The authors illustrate for one country -- Morocco -- that inequality within large cities is not driven by a severe dichotomy between slum dwellers and others. The notion of a single cleavage between slum residents and well-to-do burghers as the driver of urban inequality in the developing world thus appears to be unsubstantiated -- at least in this case. Robustness checks are performed to assess whether the findings in the paper are driven by price variation across city-size categories, by the reliance on an income-based concept of well-being, and by the application of small-area estimation techniques for estimating poverty rates at the town and city level.