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Poverty reduction and demographic change

Monday April 9, 2018, at 13:30
Room 24.120 (First floor). Mercè Rodoreda 24 building
Research seminar

Global poverty has fallen dramatically over the past decades. In many developing countries these transformations were accompanied by rapid improvement in health and demographic outcomes, such as falling child mortality and fertility rates. Yet, recent theorizing and empirical research about the causes of poverty reduction has mostly omitted demographic factors. The work presented aims to fill this gap, by testing for effects of demographic variables on poverty. Using time series data for close to 140 countries, we document a strong effect of fertility and household dependency ratios on poverty that is robust across several specifications and data sets. We also find a ‘Kuznets curve-type’ pattern for fertility differentials between the poor and non-poor, which suggests that the effect of demographic change on poverty is mediated by similar distributional processes as the growth-poverty relationship.

Frank Borge Wietzke works at the intersection of comparative politics and economics. His research interests include the historical origins of inequality and institutional development with a focus on the long-term consequences of missionary work and colonialism in the developing world. Borge’s recent research explores the drivers and consequences of recent ‘middle class’ growth in developing countries, including the political behaviours and redistribution preferences of the ‘new middle classes’, and the political economy of social policy reform and development finance in middle income countries. Borge’s research typically combines detailed econometric evidence with thorough contextual and political economy analysis.

Originally trained as a political scientist (University of Leipzig and Science Po Paris) Borge holds a PhD in Development Studies from the London School of Economics. Borge’s work has appeared in journals like World Development, Journal of Development Studies, Socio-Economic Review, and Development Policy Review. Borge also has extensive policy experience with the World Bank and the United Nations, where he has worked on issues related to social protection, decentralization, and development finance.