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Are Bangladesh’s Recent Gains in Poverty Reduction Different from the Past?

The poor in Bangladesh are more likely to belong to households with a larger number of dependents, lower education, engaged in daily wage labor, own little land and less likely to receive remittances. This poverty profile for 2005 is similar to those in the mid-1980s apparently indicating that little has changed over time. A closer look at the survey data, however, suggests a much more nuanced story. The paper uses two rounds of the Bangladesh Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) to decompose the micro-determinants of poverty reduction between 2000 and 2005 closely following similar analysis using earlier rounds of the HIES from the 1980s and 1990s. The comparison of results shows that the spatial distribution of poverty has changed over the three decades, the drivers of poverty reduction are different in several respects, and that policies to spur further reduction in poverty need to be adjusted in the light of these shifts over time.