Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Oslo University, Department of Economics

No 11/2014: Poverty in China Seen from Outer Space

Ingvild Almås (), Åshild Auglænd Johnsen () and Andreaa Kotsadam ()
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Ingvild Almås: NHH Norwegian School of Economics and University of Oslo,, Postal: Department of Economics , NHH Norwegian School of Economics and University of Oslo , Norway
Åshild Auglænd Johnsen: University of Stavanger Business School
Andreaa Kotsadam: Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo, Postal: Department of Economics, University of Oslo, P.O Box 1095 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway

Abstract: Estimates of poverty are highly sensitive to price and income measures across time and space. This paper offers a complementary approach to traditional poverty measurement that ensures comparability: we use nighttime light as a proxy for poverty measurement. We measure the percentage of populated areas in China with no nighttime light, and the percentage of the population living in these areas.Between 1992 and 2005, both measures reveal a steady decrease in poverty in China. From 2005 to 2010, however, we find no evidence of a significant poverty reduction.

Keywords: China; Poverty; Nighttime light

JEL-codes: I30; I32; O10

19 pages, June 23, 2014

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