Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Count

[editor's note: The Count would like to apologize for failing to count during his regularly scheduled counting time.]

0.84, 1.15, 2.7, 5.94... the percent of GDP it would cost to transfer one poverty line to poor children in Chile, Brazil, Venezuela and Bolivia, respectively. Yes indeed, as promised, here's another excerpt from ECLAC's new report, showing that the relative cost of eliminating childhood poverty is rather low and well within reach.

The graph below shows the result of a simulation estimating the cost of transferring the income equivalent of one poverty line to children around or younger than five years old. The yellow line shows the estimates for every child and the blue line shows the costs for only children from vulnerable households. Also, as can be seen, the relative cost is lowest in countries with a higher level of development.

[Cost of transferring one poverty line to children younger than 5, around 2008, in percent of GDP]
Quite astoundingly, Chile could transfer enough money to eliminate poverty for every child with just 0.84 percent of GDP. Even Bolivia, with a far lower level of development, could theoretically get rid of poverty with a relatively small 5.94 percent of GDP.

Of course, this type of exercise is a pure abstraction and takes for granted all sorts of institutional and implementation hurdles. But it's certainly food for thought, no?

1 comment:

  1. I was perusing this report today, wondering how the numbers had changed on Argentina, with the Asignación Universal por Hijo (Universal Allocation by Children) implementation, which transferred a significant amount of GDP (0.63%) to poor families.
    Could be an interesting test for that theoretical abstraction.