Poverty in Palanpur

Peter Lanjouw*, Nicholas Stern

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The meaning and identification of poverty are examined using three indicators of standard of living in the North Indian village of Palanpur. The first is intended as a measure of "apparent prosperity" based on the personal assessments of investigators after intensive field work in the village over the full agricultural year 1983-84. The other two are income in 1983-84, and a measure of permanent income obtained by averaging incomes from four surveys conducted over a twenty-six-year interval. A comparison of these three indicators shows that income measured in any one year may give a misleading impression of the incidence of poverty. The risk of poverty for households is calculated. Vulnerability is high among low-caste households and those which are involved in agricultural labor. Categories, however, are not homogeneous; for example, whereas the landless and widows are more likely to be poor, some of such households are quite well off. It is argued that poverty in a good agricultural year is a better indicator of sustained poverty than poverty in a bad year. Occupational mobility out of agricultural labor is low, and changes in the distribution of land are largely accounted for by demographic processes such as household splits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-55
Number of pages33
JournalWorld Bank Economic Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1991


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