The Poor Half Billion in South Asia: What is Holding Back Lagging Regions?

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South Asia, which is home to 1.5 billion people, is a land of sharp and growing contrasts. It has attracted global attention as an emerging economic powerhouse, but is also home to the largest concentration of people living in conflict, poverty, and malnutrition. This has created 'two South Asias'-one dynamic, urbanized, and globally integrated, and the other rural, impoverished, and lagging.
With a focus on the poor half billion of South Asia, this volume puts into perspective the colossal task ahead to eradicate poverty and enable inclusive growth. Examining the development challenges, successes, and failures of South Asia, it provides fresh perspectives on the links between economic geography, institutions, and globalization. The essays provide answers to why certain regions are lagging through a comparative study of spatial disparities in income, poverty, conflict, human development, and gender divides. Combining quantitative data with analytical rigour, this volume provides innovative short-term and long-term policy solutions to overcome the limits to growth and escape poverty traps.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This book sets out to examine poverty, inequality, human development and gender disparities in south Asia at three different spatial scales. It compares south Asian countries to other developing countries; with each other; and sub-national units (states, provinces or other administrative divisions) with others in the same country as well as the region.... What distinguishes the book from many other collective volumes with similar disparate coverage is its unifying theme of regional disparities, and a common methodological heuristic: each chapter compares the performance of 'leading' and 'lagging' sub-national regions."--Economic and Political Weekly

"Ejaz Ghani, Economic Advisor, South Asia Poverty Reduction and Economic Management at the World Bank, has edited a compendium of nine eassay which closely examine South Asia's sharp and growing contrasts, providing insights into the links between economic geography, institutions, and globalization before coming up with solutions that may seem simplistic at one level but which are the only pragmatic way of addressing the complexities and challenges that drive these economies."--Asia Europe Journal

"This is a substantial and well-researched volume on different aspects of South Asian poverty. Rich in analysis and data compilation, ittakes a balanced approach towards remedial policy issues. This volume will generate great interest among development scholars as well as the policy community, and will be widely cited."--Pranab Bardhan, Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley

"As Asia recovers rapidly from the global recession, a lot of attention has been given to 'Asia Shining'. This volume is a welcome reminder that there is another side of 'Asia Suffering' that needs to be studied to gain a balanced understanding of the region. Rich in detail and broad in scopethe book documents the challenges of poverty eradication and presents a range of solutions, spanning fiscal policy, social service delivery, and infrastructure Anyone interested in the economic development of South Asia will find much of interest in this rich compilation."--Homi Kharas, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution

"The remarkable growth of India since the reforms of the early 1990s and the acceleration of growth in other nations of Southeast Asia has generated widespread attention. This volume addresses those left behind Particularly welcome is the emphasis on sub-regional aspects of poverty within each country and the disappointing effects of globalization on improving the lot of people in backward sub-regions a mandatory reading for those planning new research on the topic."--Howard Pack, Professor, Business and Public Policy, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

"Could economic growth, in and of itself, successfully attack poverty in South Asia? By splitting nations into sub-national units, this book clearly demonstrates that aggregate national figures mask vast sub-national disparities, and rapid growth in some regions would not necessarily lift lagging regions. Well-researched, broad-minded, thought-provoking, and timely."--Ashutosh Varshney, Professor of Political Science, Brown University

"This book goes a long way towards explaining why growth may not be enough, who gets excluded, and why. This is a valuable addition to the debate on direct attacks on poverty."--Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar, Consulting Editor, The Economic Times

"This is a fascinating analysis of 'shining' versus 'suffering South Asia. [It presents] a wide canvas of economic wisdom going beyond conventional analysis. Those wanting to understand the growth-poverty contradictions in South Asia would be wise to use this volume as their first port of call."--Saman Kelegama, Executive Director, Institute of Policy Studies and Sri Lanka

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198068846
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/16/2010
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Ejaz Ghani is Economic Adviser with South Asia Poverty Reduction and Economic Management at the The World Bank in Washington D.C.

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Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures; Preface; The Poor Half Billion in South Asia: An Overview;
1. Development Disparities and Peculiarities;
2. Are Lagging Regions Catching Up with Leading Regions?;
3. New Economic Geography and Market Access;
4. Do Lagging Regions Benefit from Trade;
5. . Is Growth Constrained by Institutions?;
6. Education Policies and Outcomes in Lagging Regions;
7. Internal Conflict;
8. Is Decentralisation Helping the Lagging Regions;
9. How Important is Migration;
10. Stimulating Agricultural Growth; List of Contributors

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