Importance of mechanisms of growth - Poverty reduction potential of growth

Esther Duflo makes this insightful observation in an interview
The biggest problem with just focusing on growth is that we have no idea what causes growth. And this does not hold just for me, but a whole lot of macroeconomists who have studied numerous determinants of economic growth. So focusing on just growth can be a bit useless. Another issue which has become important vis-à-vis growth is its failure to guarantee upward social mobility for future generations. 
It's a subtle point but often missed in the discourse. Growth-Poverty relation is also relevant in this context.  Economists call it the 'growth elasticity of poverty', the percentage decrease in poverty for 1 percent increase in mean per capita incomes.

An old column of Maitreesh Ghatak summarizes this argument clearly.
While it is true that in the post-liberalization era growth has indeed lifted millions out of poverty, it is also true that the extent to which growth has made a dent on poverty (growth elasticity of poverty being the technical term) has been lower in India than in China and other comparable countries
In other words, the number of people that were pulled out of poverty by 1% growth, is lower in India, as compared to China. Ghatak argues that it's mainly because of lower human capital in India.
This is mainly because of the shockingly low levels of human capital for a large chunk of the population. 
Consider this fact: the wage rate more than doubles if you move from low-skilled to medium-skilled jobs, or if you move from medium-skilled to high skilled jobs. If the child of an unskilled worker becomes highly skilled, then individual income will increase four-times within one generation. Yet, as a recent report by the Pew Research Center points out, between 2001 and 2011 the share of Indians who would be considered middle income increased from 1% to 3%, whereas in China it went up from 3% to 18%. While poverty has fallen, instead of an emerging middle class, what India has experienced is a larger class of low income earners.  
In this context, it is saddening that there are no serious efforts to revamp education and health care in the country, barring exceptions of Delhi and partially Bihar. As someone remarked "the struggle to make governments focus on education and healthcare has come from 'pushing them to do something productive' to damage control - to stop them from destroying what's remaining.

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