Journal of Economic Growth

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 139–164 | Cite as

Are the world’s poorest being left behind?

  • Martin RavallionEmail author


Traditional assessments of economic growth and progress against poverty tell us little about whether the poorest are being left behind—whether the consumption floor is rising above the biological minimum. To address this deficiency, the paper identifies the expected value of the floor as a weighted mean of observed consumptions for the poorest stratum. Under the identifying assumptions and using data for the developing world over 1981–2011, the estimated floor is about half the $1.25 a day poverty line. Economic growth and social policies have delivered only modest progress in raising the floor, despite overall growth and progress in reducing the number living near the floor.


Poverty Consumption floor Rawls Growth Safety-nets 


I32 I38 O15 

Supplementary material

10887_2016_9126_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (11 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (xlsx 10 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsGeorgetown University, and NBERWashingtonUSA

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