An Approach to Poverty in Developing Countries: A Case Study of the Philippines

Takishita, Yoshinobu (2007). An Approach to Poverty in Developing Countries: A Case Study of the Philippines MPhil Thesis, School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland.

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Author Takishita, Yoshinobu
Thesis Title An Approach to Poverty in Developing Countries: A Case Study of the Philippines
School, Centre or Institute School of Political Science and International Studies
Institution University of Queensland
Publication date 2007
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Associate Professor Merton Fletcher
Subjects 1604 Human Geography
Abstract/Summary This dissertation offers a contribution to the improvement of poverty research and propoor strategies in developing countries. My argument is that the narrow focus of conventional poverty research has led to ineffective pro-poor strategies and resulted in the slow progress of poverty reduction. This narrow focus can be seen in the approaches of defining poverty, the selection of poverty measures and aggregation methods, and analysis of only quantitative data. Poverty reduction programmes based on the results of such research often miss the target group, or area, and lead to leakage of allocated resources. More importantly, conventional research lacks deeper analysis of systemic constraints which institutionalise poverty and undermine any effort toward poverty reduction. In the first part of the research, I address key issues related to poverty research and propoor strategies: the development of a conceptual framework; identification of factors related to poverty; basic approaches to planning anti-poverty strategies; and methodology of data collection and analysis. Most conventional poverty research takes either an absolute or relative approach to define and measure poverty, and relies on monetarybased poverty measures and single aggregation techniques such as head count measures. While assessing the weakness of the conventional approach, I seek to develop an appropriate approach to conduct poverty research. In analysing a number of causal factors, I have classified them into four levels - macro, domestic, trans-national and external. These factors are often interrelated and create a poverty cycle. In planning effective propoor strategies, it is essential to understand economic, political and socio-cultural contexts. The narrow focus of development strategies emphasising economic growth ignores the mechanism of institutionalising poverty and growth often does not lead to reduction of poverty but to an increase in income inequality. Thus, the process of poverty research and planning pro-poor strategies requires extensive collection of data both primary and secondary, quantitative and qualitative, with different levels of micro, domestic, trans-national and external data. The conceptual overview developed in the first section is used as a tool for a detailed analysis of poverty in the Philippines. My research in the case study includes: assessment of the development process in terms of economic, political and social development; analysis of public policies related to poverty; quantitative analysis of poverty profiles and causal factors; and qualitative data collection and analysis. Although the Philippine government has developed poverty research since the 1980s and the results have been incorporated into a number of government policies, many official programmes suffer from ineffectiveness. This is partly due to the weakness of poverty research which relies only on quantitative data. Through the combined analysis of quantitative and qualitative, macro and micro level data, I have also identified causal factors which form systemic constraints to institutionalise poverty in the Philippines. This case study provides a number of findings which could be applicable to poverty reduction in other developing countries.

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Created: Fri, 21 Nov 2008, 15:39:19 EST