The actual impact of economic growth on poverty reduction is of fundamental importance to the development agenda, especially in view of the Sustainable Development Goals. So far, studies have focused on income poverty. This paper offers new empirical evidence on growth and poverty measured from a multidimensional perspective using the global Multidimensional Poverty Index. Results from a first difference estimator model suggest that while economic growth reduces multidimensional poverty, this impact is well below a one-to-one relationship. We also find that economic growth has a far bigger impact on reducing income poverty than on reducing multidimensional poverty. Results from an alternative cross-section model also support this result and additionally suggest that countries with higher levels of exports, a higher share of industry and services in their GDPs, and higher control of corruption have lower multidimensional poverty. All in all, the results highlight the need for countries to grow in order to reduce poverty, but they simultaneously suggest the limited power of economic growth per se to achieve grand reductions in poverty.
Citation: Santos, M. E., Dabus, C., and Delbianco, F. (2016). “Growth and poverty revisited from a multidimensional perspective.” OPHI Working Paper 105, University of Oxford.