For India's rural poor, growing towns matter more than growing cities

John Gibson, Gaurav Datt, Rinku Murgai, Martin Ravallion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

We demonstrate that it is theoretically ambiguous whether growth of cities matters more to the rural poor than growth of towns. We then test empirically whether the economic growth of India's secondary towns mattered more to recent rural poverty reduction than did growth of the big cities. Satellite observations of night lights are used to measure urban growth on both extensive and intensive margins in the context of a spatial Durbin fixed-effects model of poverty measures for rural India, calibrated to a panel of 59 regions observed four times over 1993-2012. Lit area expansion had more effect on rural poverty measures than did intensive margin growth in terms of the brightness of light from urban areas. For India's current stage of development, growth of secondary towns may do more to reduce rural poverty than does big city growth although our theoretical model suggests that cities may eventually take over from towns as the drivers of rural poverty reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-429
Number of pages17
JournalWorld Development
Volume98
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

Keywords

  • Cities and towns
  • India
  • Luminosity
  • Poverty
  • Spatial Durbin model

Cite this

Gibson, John ; Datt, Gaurav ; Murgai, Rinku ; Ravallion, Martin. / For India's rural poor, growing towns matter more than growing cities. In: World Development. 2017 ; Vol. 98. pp. 413-429.
@article{0cffe46a93a644699d7421e28facf2ba,
title = "For India's rural poor, growing towns matter more than growing cities",
abstract = "We demonstrate that it is theoretically ambiguous whether growth of cities matters more to the rural poor than growth of towns. We then test empirically whether the economic growth of India's secondary towns mattered more to recent rural poverty reduction than did growth of the big cities. Satellite observations of night lights are used to measure urban growth on both extensive and intensive margins in the context of a spatial Durbin fixed-effects model of poverty measures for rural India, calibrated to a panel of 59 regions observed four times over 1993-2012. Lit area expansion had more effect on rural poverty measures than did intensive margin growth in terms of the brightness of light from urban areas. For India's current stage of development, growth of secondary towns may do more to reduce rural poverty than does big city growth although our theoretical model suggests that cities may eventually take over from towns as the drivers of rural poverty reduction.",
keywords = "Cities and towns, India, Luminosity, Poverty, Spatial Durbin model",
author = "John Gibson and Gaurav Datt and Rinku Murgai and Martin Ravallion",
year = "2017",
month = "10",
doi = "10.1016/j.worlddev.2017.05.014",
language = "English",
volume = "98",
pages = "413--429",
journal = "World Development",
issn = "0305-750X",
publisher = "Elsevier",

}

For India's rural poor, growing towns matter more than growing cities. / Gibson, John; Datt, Gaurav; Murgai, Rinku; Ravallion, Martin.

In: World Development, Vol. 98, 10.2017, p. 413-429.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - For India's rural poor, growing towns matter more than growing cities

AU - Gibson, John

AU - Datt, Gaurav

AU - Murgai, Rinku

AU - Ravallion, Martin

PY - 2017/10

Y1 - 2017/10

N2 - We demonstrate that it is theoretically ambiguous whether growth of cities matters more to the rural poor than growth of towns. We then test empirically whether the economic growth of India's secondary towns mattered more to recent rural poverty reduction than did growth of the big cities. Satellite observations of night lights are used to measure urban growth on both extensive and intensive margins in the context of a spatial Durbin fixed-effects model of poverty measures for rural India, calibrated to a panel of 59 regions observed four times over 1993-2012. Lit area expansion had more effect on rural poverty measures than did intensive margin growth in terms of the brightness of light from urban areas. For India's current stage of development, growth of secondary towns may do more to reduce rural poverty than does big city growth although our theoretical model suggests that cities may eventually take over from towns as the drivers of rural poverty reduction.

AB - We demonstrate that it is theoretically ambiguous whether growth of cities matters more to the rural poor than growth of towns. We then test empirically whether the economic growth of India's secondary towns mattered more to recent rural poverty reduction than did growth of the big cities. Satellite observations of night lights are used to measure urban growth on both extensive and intensive margins in the context of a spatial Durbin fixed-effects model of poverty measures for rural India, calibrated to a panel of 59 regions observed four times over 1993-2012. Lit area expansion had more effect on rural poverty measures than did intensive margin growth in terms of the brightness of light from urban areas. For India's current stage of development, growth of secondary towns may do more to reduce rural poverty than does big city growth although our theoretical model suggests that cities may eventually take over from towns as the drivers of rural poverty reduction.

KW - Cities and towns

KW - India

KW - Luminosity

KW - Poverty

KW - Spatial Durbin model

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85020684921&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.worlddev.2017.05.014

DO - 10.1016/j.worlddev.2017.05.014

M3 - Article

VL - 98

SP - 413

EP - 429

JO - World Development

JF - World Development

SN - 0305-750X

ER -