Global poverty and inequality 1970-2006, by Sala-i-Martin and Pinkovskiy

Maxim Pinkovskiy and Xavier Sala-i-Martin have an important new NBER paper out parametrically estimating the world distribution of income. Some highlights on poverty:

  • Defining poverty as less than $1/day, world poverty rates fell by 80% from 27% in 1970 to slightly more than 5% in 2006.
  • The corresponding total number of poor fell from 403 million in 1970 to 152 million in 2006.
  • Similar findings apply if other poverty measures are used ($2/day, 5$/day, etc)
  • These estimates are much lower than what is suggested in other research.

The paper is an obvious must-read. I haven't yet had more than a quick look at the methodology, but it all looks decent enough for this sort of thing and even impressive at parts, and of course Sala-i-Martin's name is a gold seal of quality.