BWPI Poverty Blog – Welcome!

Welcome to the Brooks World Poverty Institute blog!

This is a new project that will be providing news, comment and research on all things related to poverty. It provides a forum in which to disseminate research produced at the BWPI, the University of Manchester and elsewhere, and to comment on events related to poverty as they happen. You are invited to send your comments and to contribute new postings on any topic related to poverty in the UK, developing world or indeed anywhere in the world.

Why Manchester?

Manchester has traditionally been a centre for the creation of ideas and knowledge that have profoundly influenced global patterns of poverty and well-being. As the world’s first industrial city, Manchester contributed to processes that have ultimately led to greatly improved levels of human well-being, although in their early period these processes were associated with horrific deprivation and exploitation – as evidenced by Engels’ path-breaking studies of poverty in working-class Manchester.

In the post-war period, the University gained a global reputation for research on social and economic change in developing countries, crowned by Sir Arthur Lewis’s Nobel Prize for research on development economics, and by the work of scholars such as Peter Worsley, Max Gluckmann and Teodor Shanin.

In more recent times the University has extended its reputation for policy relevant research through the work of its Chronic Poverty Research Centre, Global Poverty Research Group , the Brooks World Poverty Institute itself and research by academics in the School of Environment and Development and the School of Social Sciences. The University thus has a strong existing base to build on – with additional resources, new staff and cutting edge ideas it is now in a position to become a global centre creating ‘useful knowledge’ to accelerate the elimination of poverty.

Please use this blog as an arena in which to find out about and engage in discussion on recent research and events. We want your comments!

One Response to “BWPI Poverty Blog – Welcome!”

  1. Katsushi Imai Says:

    Indian economic miracle bypasses rural poor

    A study of disadvantaged groups in rural India – which make up over 24 per cent of the population – has shed light on why the country’ s economic success has largely passed them by.

    The researchers from the Universities of Manchester, Delhi, Harvard and the International Fund for Agricultural Development used survey data to examine the plight of former “untouchable castes” and disadvantaged tribes (the paper is downloadable from http://www.bwpi.manchester.ac.uk/resources/Working-Papers/index.html ; BWPI working paper 13/2007- forthcoming in Brown Journal of World Affairs, XIV(2) Spring/Summer 2008).

    Legislation in 1950 entitling untouchables – as well as a number of tribal communities – to places in educational institutions and government employment was hailed as a major breakthrough in affirmative action.

    But we argue: “Despite glowing accounts of how well the Indian economy has performed in recent years, these traditionally disadvantaged groups- known as scheduled castes and scheduled tribes- remain mired in acute poverty.

    “Indeed, our analysis confirms a higher incidence and a higher intensity of poverty among the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes relative to the rest of India.

    “This disparity shows poorer levels of education and land ownership as well as lower income gains resulting from land and education.

    “While some of the disparity may be caused by elements of discrimination and lower quality of education; location in remote, inaccessible areas with limited infrastructure and limited market access cause poverty and inequity to persist.

    “We find this worrying: it’ s clear that ethnic groups and castes remain mired in poverty.”

    The data from the survey revealed:
    • Among the scheduled tribes, about one-third were landless
    • The majority of scheduled castes – about 62 percent – were landless.
    • All groups had limited access to irrigation, with large majorities enjoying little or no access.
    • About 69 percent of individuals from scheduled tribes belonged to households without an adult with primary education
    • About 65 percent of scheduled castes belonged to households that lacked an adult with primary education.
    • In scheduled tribes, 44 percent of the households were poor
    • In scheduled caste households, 32 percent of the households were poor
    • In non-scheduled households, 19 percent of the households were poor.

    We further argue: “One issue that our analysis highlights is that identity could have a potentially important role in perpetuating deprivation.

    “We suggest that policy cannot be limited to enhancing the endowments of the schedule castes, scheduled tribes, and other disadvantaged groups but must also address the issue of lower returns or income gains.

    “The relative importance of caste and tribal affiliations, together with mistrust of the reward and belief systems, must be dealt with when designing any affirmative action.

    “Providing employment and training facilities outside a poor neighbourhood would avoid the negative interactions with the individuals who do not wish conform.

    “The strengthening of rural infrastructure and increasing market access would facilitate mobility, intermixing of different groups, and expand opportunities for more productive employment.

    “And it is imperative that those from socially excluded groups are protected against a sense of alienation or loss of identity in pursuing an activity that conforms to the dominant culture.”

    The team analysed data from the 61st round of the national sample survey of India covering the period 2004- 2005.

    This study was sponsored by Asia and the Pacific Division which is part IFAD, an agency of the UN, but the views expressed are personal.

    Categories: Chronic Poverty, Asia, India, and Inequality

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