Economic Mobility is stalled in developing countries in last three decades: World Bank

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Inequality in opportunity has trapped generations of poor people in developing countries in a cycle of poverty, and their economic mobility has stalled for the last 30 years, the World Bank has said in its new report.

The report that looked at people born between 1940 and 1980, found that 46 out of 50 countries with the lowest rates of mobility from the bottom to the top are in the developing world.

The report, ‘Fair Progress? Economic Mobility across Generations Around the World’ said that the chances of economic mobility are determined by their circumstance at birth in many of these countries.

It found a huge variation in the extent of intergenerational mobility in the developing world.

While only 12 percent of the people born in the 1980s in the Central African Republic, Guinea, and South Sudan have achieved education levels higher than their parents, the ratio was 89 percent in South Korea and 85 percent in Thailand.

Among Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, and Nigeria, economic mobility rose in all of them between the 1940s and the 1980s to a large extent. But the progress has slowed in them since the 1960s and stalled in the case of China and Nigeria.

While the mobility gaps between girls and boys are close to zero in Brazil, China, Egypt, and Indonesia, no such convergence has taken place in India or Nigeria.

“All parents want their children to have better lives than their own, yet the aspirations of too many people –especially poor people – are thwarted by unequal opportunities,” said World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva.

“We need to invest in children from a very early age so that they are well-nourished and well-educated; ensure that local communities are a safe place for children to grow, learn, and thrive; and level the economic playing field by creating good jobs and improving access to finance.”

The report was based on a newly developed Global Database of Intergenerational Mobility which covers 148 countries, home to 96 percent of the world’s population.

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