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Agricultural Growth, Poverty and Inequality in Developing Countries


Drawing upon cross-country panel data for developing countries, the present study shows that agricultural growth is the most important factor in reducing inequality and poverty, and growth acceleration. This is in striking contrast to the dominant view that urbanization is key to growth and elimination of extreme poverty. There is thus a case for a drastic shift away from rural–urban migration and urbanization as main drivers of growth and elimination of extreme poverty, and towards revival of agriculture in the policy discourse that should drive the advancement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

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We are grateful to Thomas Elhaut, Constanza Di Nucci and Alessandra Garbero at IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) for their enthusiastic support and guidance throughout this study and for their insistence on highest standards of analytical rigour. The views expressed are personal and not necessarily of the organizations to which we are affiliated or of IFAD.

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Correspondence to Katsushi S. Imai.

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Imai, K.S., Cheng, W. & Gaiha, R. Agricultural Growth, Poverty and Inequality in Developing Countries. Development 58, 230–236 (2015).

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  • inequality
  • poverty
  • growth
  • agriculture
  • non-agriculture
  • urbanization