An Overview of Zambia’s Economic and Poverty Situation

Poverty is the most profound challenge that Zambia faces today. It is a social crisis with the majority of people denied a minimum decent living standard. The latest JCTR (2001) Monthly Food Basket Survey shows that it is becoming more and more difficult for the majority to meet basic needs, because food costs have been rising while wages remain static and too far below the food cost. The gravity of the situation is such that more and more lives are being lost due to hunger, sickness and disease including HIV/AIDS. But what is the definition of poverty?


Gender inequalities in South African society

South Africa’s national policy framework for women’s empowerment and gender equality, which was drafted by the national Office on the Status of Women, was the focus of two hearings held in Durban last month. These gave participants from government and civil society the opportunity to discuss priority issues for national and provincial action plans, recommend structures and institutions for implementation and debate areas for cooperation between civil society and the Office on the Status of Women.

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An Individual-Level Approach To Health Inequality: Child Survival In 50 Countries.

Background: Reducing health inequalities is an important part of the agenda of health policymakers globally. Studies of health inequalities have revealed large variations in average health status across social, economic, and other groups. However, no studies have been conducted on the distribution of the risk of ill-health across individuals.

Methods: We use an extended beta-binomial model to estimate the distribution the risk of death in children under the age of two in the 50 developing countries where data from a Demographic and Health Survey are available. Inequality in these distributions is measured by the WHO health inequality index.

Findings: At the same level of average child mortality, inequality in the risk of death across children can vary considerably across countries. Representing the entire distribution of risk with an inequality measure involves normative choices that we delineate and formalise with quantitative measures. The results are not very sensitive to the choice of measure. Liberia, Mozambique and the Central African Republic have the largest inequalities in child survival, while Colombia, the Philippines and Kazakhstan have the lowest among the 50 countries measured. Interpretation: Inequality estimates should be routinely reported alongside average levels of health, as they reveal important information about the distribution of health in populations. Measuring inequality with individual level data, rather than quantifying differences in average levels of health across social groups, enables meaningful comparisons of inequality across countries and analyses of the determinants of inequality. This approach should be extended to the measurement of inequalities in healthy life expectancy.

Asset Smoothing, Consumption Smoothing and the Reproduction of Inequality Under Risk and Subsistence Constraints.

A stochastic dynamic programming model is developed to explore savings and portfolio decisions given both yield risk and endogenous asset-price risk. A subsistence constraint creates an intertemporal link between current consumption and future labor power. Optimal portfolio strategies bifurcate. Initially wealthier agents acquire a higher-yielding portfolio and pursue a conventional consumption-smoothing strategy. Initially poorer agents acquire a safer, but less remunerative portfolio and pursue asset smoothing, rather than consumption-smoothing. Asset-based risk-coping proves more expensive for the poor than the rich, and the resulting positive correlation between initial wealth and portfolio rate of return implies that inequality reproduces itself over time.


Inequality, Trade Policy and Growth: An Explanation for The Africa Dummy

The principal aim of this paper is to identify any empirical regularities in the relationship between inequality, trade policy and growth in developing countries. In particular, we are concerned with how these factors help to account for the poor growth performance of sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries. We are specifically concerned with variables that have a policy interpretation, especially in relation to trade. Consequently, attention focuses on policy and non-policy barriers to trade, indicators of trade orientation and resource endowments. The empirical analysis is in the context of the literature on inequality and growth, on the basis that a measure of the inequality in the distribution of income is itself a proxy for policy distortions

Corruption, economic growth, and income inequality in Africa

This paper uses panel data from African countries and a dynamic panel estimator to investigate the effects of corruption on economic growth and income distribution. It finds that corruption decreases economic growth directly and indirectly through decreased investment in physical capital. A unit increase in corruption reduces the growth rates of GDP and per capita income by between 0.75 and 0.9 percentage points and between 0.39 and 0.41 percentage points per year respectively. The results also indicate that increased corruption is positively correlated with income inequality. The combined effect of decreased income growth and increased inequality suggests that corruption hurts the poor more than the rich in African countries.

Nonfarm Income, Inequality and Poverty in Rural Egypt and Jordan

This article uses decomposition analysis to examine the impact of different sources of income—including nonfarm income—on poverty and inequality in rural Egypt and Jordan. While nonfarm income reduces poverty and improves income distribution in Egypt, in Jordan nonfarm income goes mainly to the rich and thus tends to increase rural inequality. The reasons for this difference have to do with land. In Egypt land is highly productive, but the poor lack land access and are thus “pushed” to work in the nonfarm sector. However, in Jordan land is not very productive and so the rich are “pulled” by more attractive rates of return into the nonfarm sector.

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