Feb 28, 2011
Paul Collier’s 2007 book, The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It, changed the way we think about poverty and development. Collier argued that the majority of the 5-billion people in the "developing world" live in countries with sustained high growth rates and would eventually escape from poverty. The rest—the bottom billion—live in 58 small, poor, often land-locked countries that are growing very slowly or not at all. These countries, stuck in poverty traps, should be the focus of foreign aid, Collier argued.
Andy Sumner, a visiting fellow at CGD and research fellow at the Institute for Development Studies at Sussex University, is boldly challenging that view with more recent data and a new frame of reference that tell a surprisingly different story: three out of four of the world’s poorest people, Andy asserts, live in middle-income countries with impressive growth rates but may nonetheless are trapped in extreme poverty. Andy joins me on this week’s Wonkcast to discuss his work on this “new” bottom billion.
Read a full show summary on the Wonkcast site: cgdev.org/wonkcast.