In this article, Gabriel Neely-Streit interviews Professor Martha Chen, a lecturer in public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Read more of our Impact Interviews. In 1997, Chen helped found, Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), a “global research-policy network that seeks to improve the status of the working poor, especially women, […]
As a young boy, Sukhadeo Thorat felt humiliation when an upper caste child slapped his face for inadvertently touching the communal well. As a teen-ager, he felt anger when he and other local dalits (former untouchables) were slurred or socially shunned at gatherings, and excluded from religious temples. As one of India’s leading economists and public intellectuals, Thorat has felt compelled to put caste discrimination on the mainstream research agenda, as well as to seek to influence policy and social movements with hard evidence about the ways in which tens of millions of persons remain ‘blocked by caste.’
In this featured article, Utsa Patnaik, Professor of Economics (Retired) at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, argues that the Indian government massively undercounts the poor because the consumption standard against which poverty is measured has itself been allowed to fall over time. If the original definition of poverty line is used then three-quarters of India’s population today are poor. China also would see a dramatic increase, and the World Bank’s global poverty numbers would be revised far upward.