Poverty and Public Policy

Bhagwati, Jagdish N.

The problem of poverty is particularly acute in India. With 14 percent of the world's population, we have the misfortune of having almost twice as large a share of the world's poor. Indeed, as I shall presently underline, the question of poverty and its amelioration has been at the center of our concerns from the beginning of our planning efforts almost four decades ago. Little therefore can be said on it that some distinguished Indian economist has not already said. In some ways, therefore, to talk on the design of public policy for poverty to an Indian audience is to carry coal to Newcastle or, as the old saying goes, to teach your grandmother how to suck eggs. Nonetheless, I hope to provide a fresh perspective by putting the problem into an explicit analytical framework that permits alternative policy designs to be sharply defined and contrasted. I also intend to draw on international experience to put our efforts and problems into both historical and comparative perspectives.



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World Development

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January 28, 2013