Finding the Poor: Lecture by Professor Abhijit Banerjee
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Finding the Poor: Lecture by Professor Abhijit Banerjee

Date: Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Time: 12:30- 2:00 pm, ET (16:30 – 18:00 GMT or convert time)
Location: Online

This event has concluded, view the replay below.

What is the most accurate and viable way of identifying the poor for the purposes of poverty-alleviation?

One option is for government programs to choose which poor people it intends to help; alternatively, it may be more efficient for the poor themselves to make the choice. On April 2, 2014, Prof. Abhijit Banerjee discussed his latest work.

About the DEC Lecture Series: The Development Economics Vice Presidency (DEC) launched its lecture series in April 2005 to bring distinguished academics to the Bank to present and discuss new knowledge on development. The purpose of the Lecture Series is to introduce ideas on cutting edge research, challenge and contribute to the Bank's intellectual climate, and reexamine current development theories and practices. The Lectures revisit issues of long-standing concern and explore emerging issues that promise to be central to future development discourse. The Lecture Series reflects DEC's commitment to intellectual leadership and openness in embracing future challenges to reduce poverty.

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Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, World Bank Group
Read what others are asking
Benedict E. DeDominicis
Korea, Rep.
What is the definition of a "developed" country? Why exactly is it that the oil sheikdoms of the Arabian peninsula are not considered "developed," despite having relatively high per capita incomes?
Andre Adrian Powell
when shall I received my share of wealth to elevate in the present stage of life. From: Andre Adrian Powell Cell: 1-876-425-7405 Add: Center Cut, Ebeneezer District near Glengoffe, P.O. St. Cathrine.
Dr. Ashish Manohar Urkude
Hope Right to Education is applicable to poor people in India. This itself is a big question. Now, take a live case, if Government chooses children of poor to be taught, and the parents of those children are construction worker, then? The parents are going to migrate for the job, even to other cities, isn't it? Then how can they keep a track on it? Government machinery can keep a track, but not these illiterate poor people. Also, parents can't leave their children behind....There are hundreds of such cases I know....and thus children are left illiterate and parents are forced to opt for job over education of children. Slowly, children also become earning source for parents in India and Bangladesh too. Also, education and coming out of poverty goes hand in hand in this part of the world. Thus, I believe that, trustworthy government machinery all across the country in conjunction with these poor people, and technology to support, can only alleviate these poor out of poverty. Hope, you'll touch this point in your lecture. Thanks.
Ashley So Hee Park
Korea, Rep.
Is there poor people really have a choice? Government make a law for poor,but does that really work well? And some people can except from the law.How could we solve that problems?
Bae So Yeon
Korea, Rep.
Of course, finding poor people and help them is very very important thing. But I think that select WHO is really poor people is also important point. Because, if we help NOT poor people, then we can not help really poor people.
Ahju Lee
Korea, Dem. Rep.
As I think this way is good access to reducing the gap between the poor. But I want to know about more details of DEC's activitiy.
Lee Ah Ju
Korea, Rep.
Yes, of course this is good way to access to reducing the gap of poverty. But, what is standard of poverty country? As I think it is vague to decide which country is poor or developed.
kim ha yeon
Korea, Dem. Rep.
why is efficient the poor make the choice themselves? there are many mehtod to help or reduce the poor. for example, consistently charities help them for learning, consuming etc.
Ok Min Choel
Korea, Rep.
In world, there is two meaning in poor. poor of money, and poor of happieness. which is more valuable you think?r
Soheb Lokhandwala
In India we have near 42% malnutrition which keeps the cycle moving by girl-child being malnourished.Every such families must be indentified and given extra care till such time malnourishment is eradicated.Put Food Security Health-care and education on prime agenda of Govt,exclusión creteria never helped the poverty alleiviation schemes.To create willingness &motivational progs among all Govt officials in regards to poverty alleviation.How this be done? How inclusión criteria works better than exclusionary one?
Deepnarayan Choubey
Hello all... Real poverty measure by source of fixed income. So, first we development of fixed source real source income. Thanks to all...
Tijjani Mohammed
For the poor to make a choice for themselves, you will still have to find a means to identify them. There is nothing wrong with government programs defining the targets of poverty alleviation and agreeing with the poor on those targets. The options need not be mutually exclusive.
Lee da hee
Korea, Rep.
what is the standard that select poor people? and when carry out what DEC's lecture? and do you have possibilliy about that?
Helen Turner
Dominican Republic
Hi Prof Abhijit, is there any research or information about the community selecting 'the poor' for targeting with poverty alleviation programs in comparison to organizations having selection criteria that is administered - which is better? And following in that if it is better for the poor to be self selecting how do we set the definition of poverty with them (as there as so many different views of what is 'poor')? Thanks
Aqdas Afzal
I worked extensively in identifying poor in Pakistan. One of the biggest problems with the poor identifying themselves is elite capture. For instance, the Benazir Income Support Program that ascertains level of poverty from the filling out of questionnaires. Political elites working through their second-tier goons control the distribution of forms in the first place. Whether a largely illiterate population can fill out a complex form is a second-order problem. So, elite capture of such schemes remain the biggest threat, in my opinion. We need to find a way to by-pass political elites and their second-tier goons. The best way to do this is to introduce information about seeking assistance in school curricula. However, any potential change in school curricula is a multi-dimensional political challenge.