Alternative Forms of Redistribution

  • Keith Griffin
  • Jeffrey James


In the previous chapter we concentrated upon the disequilibrating effects of a rapid transfer of purchasing power to the poor. The analysis, however, was not concerned with precisely how the transfer was effected. This abstraction from an important aspect of reality, we may note, is not uncommon in some of the recent literature. Macroeconomic models designed to estimate the employment effects of redistributing income, for example, generally fail to consider how the income redistribution is to be achieved. Yet, ‘it must surely be significant for final factor use patterns whether it is by capital or income transfers, or by indirect taxation.’1 Similarly, those who advocate a basic needs strategy seldom consider how the redistributive process is actually to be implemented.2 Yet the manner in which the process is carried out is likely to have an important influence on the transition to egalitarian development and the degree of success achieved. For one thing, because of the structure of poverty in developing countries, alternative instruments for raising the purchasing power of the poor will have a differential impact — benefiting some of the poverty groups at the expense of others. Moreover, raising the purchasing power of the poor is only one component, namely the demand condition, of a successful redistributive strategy. Three other conditions also need to be satisfied.3


Poverty Line None None Underdeveloped Country Land Reform Income Transfer 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    David Morawetz, ‘Employment Implications of Industrialization in Developing Countries: A Survey’, Economic Journal, September 1974, p. 504.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    See Frances Stewart, ‘The Role of the Public Sector in a Basic Needs Strategy’ ( IBRD, mimeo, September 1977 ).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Solon Barraclough, ‘Agricultural Production Prospects in Latin America’, World Development, May-July 1977.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    See, for example, H. Chenery et al., Redistribution With Growth (Oxford University Press, 1974 ).Google Scholar
  5. 14.
    Brian Van Arkadie, ‘Planning in Tanzania’, in Mike Faber and Dudley Seers, (eds), The Crisis in Planning, vol. 2, The Experience (Chatto and Windus, 1972 ) p. 110.Google Scholar
  6. 19.
    See John Woodward Thomas, ‘The Rural Public Works Program in East Pakistan’, in W. F. Falcon and G. F. Papanek (eds), Development Policy II - The Pakistan Experience (Harvard University Press, 1971 ).Google Scholar
  7. 23.
    John Woodward Thomas, op. cit. For a more critical assessment of the Programme see Rehman Sobhan, Basic Democracies Works Programme and Rural Development in East Pakistan ( Bureau of Economic Research, University of Dacca, 1968 ).Google Scholar
  8. 30.
    Ashok Rudra, The Basic Needs Concept and its Implementation in Indian Development Planning, Asian Regional Programme for Employment Promotion (ILO: Bangkok, 1978 ) p. 36.Google Scholar
  9. 33.
    Marshall Wolfe, ‘Preconditions and Propositions for “Another Development”’, CEPAL Review Second Half of 1977, p. 47.Google Scholar
  10. 65.
    See Gunnar Myrdal, Economic Theory and Under-Developed Regions (Duckworth, 1957) p. 85.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Keith Griffin and Jeffrey James 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keith Griffin
  • Jeffrey James

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