INSTAT - ILO | Changes in poverty in Madagascar 1993-1999

05 juillet 2001

This paper takes advantage of nationally representative cross-sectional household data sets from 1993, 1997 and 1999, to examine changes in poverty in Madagascar. The authors find that poverty in this Indian Ocean country rose from an already high level of 70 percent in 1993, to 73.3 in 1997, before falling to 71.3 in 1999. This pattern of change, which corresponds to the evolution of macroeconomic policy during this period, was restricted primarily to urban areas. Populations in rural areas witnessed persistent increases in poverty despite market reforms, as structural constraints affected their ability to escape poverty. A strong correlation between “remoteness” (as measured by various proxies) and high levels of poverty support this finding. Small scale agricultural households were hit particularly hard in the 1990s, and the data suggest that these are the very households that have been extending their land use by clearing and cultivating increasingly fragile lands. The use of models of household consumption to decompose changes in poverty into returns and endowment effects, substantiate the hypothesis that decreases in land productivity among these small-holders contributed to increases in poverty. These decompositions also reveal that increased access and returns to education between 1993 and 1999 contributed to declines in poverty.