Should We Shed More Light on Poverty Types?


Cambodia used to be infamous for underdevelopment and killing field. However, we can now say that the painful era is almost becoming history. With its own seamless effort and the warmest international supports, Cambodia is now on the track to the promising future. Yes, it is true for many or perhaps most people living there. But not all.

Shed More Light on Chronic Poverty and Risks?

Tong, researcher at Cambodia Development Research Institute (CDRI), sheds light on the remaining people. Using a set of panel data on 793 households collected between 2001 and 2011, he describes their findings.

Households experiencing chronic poverty account for only 4 – 10% while transient poverty affects 40 – 52%. Among the total poor households, transient poverty is 84 – 90%.
(Tong 2012)

While many people are smiling with high growth, the other might be struggling with chronic poverty or risks to fall into poverty. According to the study, he concludes that household heads’ education, social capital, agricultural land and livestock ownership likely reduce the risk of chronic poverty and transient poverty.

As Tong uses wealth index as household economic measurement and different poverty thresholds from the Cambodian national poverty lines, we cannot simply compares the result with the nationwide poverty assessment. Considering diversification over geographical locations, ethnicity and household characteristics, we might surely obtain different findings.

In spite of such limitations, their contributions certainly give policy makers a lot of insights and hints particularly for designing and scaling up social protection programmes.

This study could be extended to provide some ideas on the way to target the chronic poor in ongoing cash transfer schemes. To answer the question, the further analysis may be necessary to find the link between household vulnerability characteristics and chronic poverty. It is also interesting to see how different approaches should be taken to reduce chronic poverty and transient poverty in Cambodia.



Tong, Kimsun (2012) Analysing Chronic Poverty in Rural Cambodia: Evidence from Panel Data. Working Paper Series No. 66, Cambodia Development Research Institute

photo credit: Padmanaba01 via photopin cc

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