Issues in comparing poverty trends over time in Cote de'Ivoire
Cote d'Ivoire conducted household surveys between 1985 and 1995, making it possible to trace changes in urban and rural poverty and changes in poverty among different socioeconomic groups. During the decade surveyed, the country experienced a major recession. Poverty increased substantially and continued unabated in the year after devaluation, in part because much of the increase in export crop prices, especially for cocoa, was taxed away. Between 1988 and 1993, urban poverty increased faster than rural poverty did, though mean expenditures in urban areas remained substantially above mean expenditures in rural areas. Food crop farmers apparently suffered more than export crop farmers. All in all these trends persisted after devaluation. However, the authors found that exploring poverty trends across regions and socioeconomic groups raised questions about the patterns of change and the reliability of the data and the methods used to derive poverty estimates. Secondary data cast some doubt on certain survey findings, suggesting that they may not have truly reflected real economic trends. The authors emphasized the need to draw reliable conclusions from time-series data in order to understand how policy reform affects poverty. They urged that far more attention be paid to comparability issues in designing and analyzing data and to developing better regional and temporal priceindices, if reliable time-series data are to be generated for Sub-Saharan Africa.
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