Growth elasticity of multidimensional poverty in India between 2005/06 and 2015/16

This seminar is organised jointly with the Institute for International Economic Policy at George Washington University and the UNDP Human Development Report Office.
This seminar will be held online, registrations:

Post-reform India has generated high economic growth, yet progress in income poverty and many other key development outcomes has remained modest. This paper seeks to explore how inclusive has Indian economic growth been in terms of reducing multidimensional poverty between 2005-06 and 2015-16, employing a constellation of elasticity and semi-elasticity measures – each capturing different forms and components of inclusivity. We assess multidimensional poverty by the well-known Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). A growth elasticity measure captures the percentage change (relative) in a target variable due to a one percent economic growth; whereas, a growth semi-elasticity measure captures the absolute change in a target variable due to a one percent economic growth. Our estimates show that, nationally, a one percent annual economic growth during the study period is associated with 0.0027 units (absolute) or 1.34 percent (relative) annual reduction in the MPI. Our estimates of horizontal inclusiveness, assessed by the change in state MPIs associated with a one percent of national economic growth, show a wide variation across states. For instance, for every one percent national economic growth, the MPI in Bihar falls only by 0.96 percent, but the MPI in Kerala falls by 3.79 percent. Our analyses and application in the paper demonstrate the efficacy of these tools for measuring inclusiveness of economic growth in terms of reducing multidimensional poverty as well as inform policy.

About the presenter:
Dr Suman Seth is an associate professor at the Leeds University Business School. He joined the business school in 2015. He is also a Research Associate at the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) within the Oxford Department of International Development at the University of Oxford. He obtained a PhD degree in Economics from Vanderbilt University in the USA. After his PhD, he served as a Research Office and as a Senior Research Officer at OPHI between 2010 and 2015. He is primarily interested in Development Economics with a particular emphasis on measurement methodologies and policy-oriented applications. Previously, he has served as consultants to the Regional Bureau of Latin America and the Caribbean, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to the Development Research Groups at the World Bank, and to the Asian Development Bank.

About the discussants:
Ajay Chhibber is Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Institute for International Economic Policy, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University and Non-Resident Senior Fellow, the Atlantic Council, Washington DC.
He was the Chief Economic Advisor, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). He was earlier the first Director General (Minister of State) , Independent Evaluation Office, Government of India and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), India – affiliated institute of the Ministry of Finance – where he completed a major study on India’s Public Sector Enterprises.
He held senior positions at the UN as Assistant Secretary General and Assistant Administrator, UNDP and managed their program for Asia and the Pacific. At the World Bank he served as Country Director in Turkey and Vietnam and Division Chief for Indonesia and the Pacific and Lead Economist, West Africa Department. He was also Director of the 1997 World Development Report on the Role of the State. He also worked in the World Bank’s Research Department, as Advisor to the Chief Economist of the World Bank and at the Public Economics Division.
He has a Ph. D from Stanford University, a Masters from the Delhi School of Economics. He also has attended advanced management programs at the Harvard Business School, Harvard University and INSEAD, France. He taught at Georgetown University and at the University of Delhi. He has published widely including 5 books in development economics, and is a contributor (columnist) to several newspapers.
He is now writing a book on “India: A Reset for the 21st Century” under contract with Harper-Collins.

About the Hosts:
James E. Foster is the Oliver T. Carr, Jr. Professor of International Affairs, Professor of Economics, and Co-Director of the Institute for International Economic Policy at the George Washington University. He is also a Research Associate at the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative at Oxford University. Professor Foster’s research focuses on welfare economics — using economic tools to evaluate and enhance the wellbeing of people. His work underlies many well-known social indices including the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) published annually by the UNDP in the Human Development Report, dozens of national MPIs used to guide domestic policy against poverty, the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) at USAID, the Gross National Happiness Index of Bhutan, the Better Jobs Index of the InterAmerican Development Bank, and the Statistical Performance Index of the World Bank. Prof. Foster received his PhD in Economics from Cornell University and has a Doctorate Honoris Causa from Universidad Autonoma del Estado Hidalgo (Mexico).

Sabina Alkire directs the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI). She is the Associate Professor of Development Studies in the Oxford Department of International Development at the University of Oxford. Her research interests include multidimensional poverty measurement and analysis, welfare economics, the capability approach, the measurement of freedoms and human development. From 2015–16, Sabina was Oliver T Carr Professor of International Affairs and Professor of Economics at George Washington University. Previously, she worked at the Global Equity Initiative at Harvard University, the Human Security Commission, and the World Bank’s Poverty and Culture Learning and Research Initiative. She holds a DPhil in Economics from the University of Oxford.