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The poverty-inequality relationship in Malawi: A multidimensional perspective

Mussa, Richard (2011): The poverty-inequality relationship in Malawi: A multidimensional perspective.

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Abstract

This paper looks at the linkage between poverty and inequality by investigating the poverty impacts of changes in within and between inequalities in Malawi. We recognize the multidimensional nature of both poverty and inequality by focusing on monetary (consumption) and non monetary (health and education) dimensions of well being. Two questions are answered namely; what is the contribution of within-group inequalities (vertical inequalities) to total poverty? And what is the contribution of between-group inequalities (horizontal inequalities) to total poverty? The second integrated household survey (IHS2) is used, and the results differ considerably across the three dimensions of well being. The elasticity of poverty with respect to within-region consumption inequalities is positive and higher than that of between-region inequalities, suggesting that reductions in vertical inequalities in consumption would have a higher poverty reducing effect. Between-region inequalities in health have a larger and positive effect on the health poverty headcount; on the other hand within-region inequalities in health have a larger and positive relationship with the health poverty gap and severity. We also find that an increase in both within and between region education inequalities reduce the education poverty headcount, but increase the education poverty gap and severity.

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