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Poverty-growth-Inequality Triangle: The Case of Indonesia

Sumarto, Sudarno and de Silva, Indunil (2013): Poverty-growth-Inequality Triangle: The Case of Indonesia.

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Abstract

This paper decomposes changes in poverty into growth and redistribution components, and employs several pro-poor growth concepts and indices to explore the growth, poverty and inequality nexus in Indonesia over the period 2002-2012. We find a ‘trickle-down’ situation, which the poor have received proportionately less benefits from growth than the non-poor. All pro-poor measures suggest that economic growth in Indonesia was particularly beneficial for those located at the top of the distribution. Regression-based decompositions suggest that variation in expenditure by education characteristics that persist after controlling for other factors to account for around two-fifths of total household expenditure inequality in Indonesia. If poverty reduction is one of the principal objectives of the Indonesian government, it is essential that policies designed to spur growth also take into account the possible impact of growth on inequality. These findings indicate the importance of a set of super pro-poor policies. Namely, policies that increase school enrolment and achievement, effective family planning programmes to reduce the birth rate and dependency load within poor households, facilitating urban-rural migration and labour mobility, connect leading and lagging regions and granting priorities for specific cohorts (such as children, elderly, illiterate, informal workers and agricultural households) in targeted interventions will serve to simultaneously stem rising inequality and accelerate the pace of economic growth and poverty reduction.

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