Halving Global Poverty

The Millennium Development Goals—global targets that the world's leaders set at the Millennium Summit in September 2000—are an ambitious agenda for reducing poverty. As a central plank, these goals include halving the proportion of people living below a dollar a day from around 30 percent of the developing world's population in 1990 to 15 percent by 2015—a reduction in the absolute number of poor of around one billion. This paper examines what economic research can tell us about how to fulfill these goals. It begins by discussing poverty trends on a global scale—where the poor are located in the world and how their numbers have been changing over time. It then discusses the relationship of economic growth and income distribution to poverty reduction. Finally, it suggests an evidence-based agenda for poverty reduction in the developing world.

Halving Global Poverty’, TimothyBesley and RobinBurgessJournal of Economic Perspectives, 17(3) (2003): 3–22. Published by American Economic Association. Reprinted with permission.
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