Longstanding development issues are revisited in the light of our newly constructed dataset of poverty measures for India spanning 60 years, including 20 years since reforms began in earnest after 1991. We find a downward trend in poverty measures since 1970, with an acceleration post-1991, despite rising inequality. Faster poverty decline came with both higher growth and a more pro-poor pattern of growth. Post-1991 data suggest stronger inter-sectoral linkages: urban consumption growth brought gains to the rural as well as the urban poor and the primary-secondary-tertiary composition of growth has ceased to matter as all three sectors contributed to poverty reduction.
Martin Ravallion holds the inaugural Edmond D. Villani Chair of Economics at Georgetown University, prior to which he was the Director of the World Bank’s research department. He has advised numerous governments and international agencies on poverty and policies for fighting it, and he has written extensively on this and other subjects in economics, including five books and 200 papers in scholarly journals and edited volumes. His latest book, The Economics of Poverty: History, Measurement and Policy, has just been published by Oxford University Press. He is President of the Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, a Senior Fellow of the Bureau for Research in Economic Analysis of Development, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, USA, and a non-resident Fellow of the Center for Global Development. Among various prizes and awards, in 2012 he was awarded the John Kenneth Galbraith Prize from the American Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.