Lifting Asia out of poverty needs to be done equally
Developing-Asia’s impressive growth continues but faces a new challenge — inequality is on the rise. Over the last few decades, the region has lifted people out of poverty at an unprecedented rate. But more recent experience contrasts with the ‘growth with equity’ story that characterised the newly industrialised economies’ transformation in the 1960s and 1970s. Treating developing Asia as a single unit, its Gini coefficient of per capita consumption expenditure — a commonly used measure of inequality — worsened from 39 in the early 1990s to 46 in the late 2000s. It worsened from 32 to 43 in China, from 33 to 37 in India, and from 29 to 39 in Indonesia. Inequality widened in 12 of the 28 economies with comparable data — and these 12 countries account for over 80 per cent of developing-Asia’s population.