Poverty and Ethnicity in Asian Countries

Carlos Gradin, Universidade de Vigo

We compare the extent and nature of higher poverty among disadvantaged ethnicities in Asian countries using demographic surveys. We analyze the magnitude of the ethnic gap in absolute and relative poverty levels across countries and ethnicities. We use regression-based counterfactual analysis for explaining these ethnic differentials in poverty comparing the actual differential in poverty with the gap that remains after disadvantaged ethnic groups are given the distribution of characteristics of the advantaged ones (re-weighting propensity score). Our results show that there is a substantial cross-country variability in the extension, evolution, and nature of the ethnic poverty gap. Ethnic disadvantaged groups are poorer because of the persisting strongly high inequalities in education (e.g. India, Nepal, and Pakistan), regional development (e.g. the Philippines), or due to the persistent large urban-rural gap (e.g. Pakistan). The gap in India increased over the analyzed period, while it was reduced in the Philippines.

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 Presented in Session P8. Economy, Labor Force, Education, and Inequality/Gender, Race and Ethnicity