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Abstract

Rural poverty rates in Zambia have remained very high, at 80%, over the past decade and a half, whilst urban poverty rates have declined, from 49% in 1991 to 34% in 2006. Redressing this high rural poverty rate remains a government priority in the National Development Programs. However, solutions have proven elusive. Solid empirically based information on dynamics that have improved the welfare of small-scale farm households in Zambia, combined with an agenda for disseminating this information in public discourse, offer prospects for generating a more transparent and pro-poor policy orientation. Using longitudinal data collected from 4,286 households which participated in three nationwide surveys conducted over seven years, in 2001, 2004, and 2008, we examine the factors associated with chronic and transient poverty and use the results to draw implications for designing policies and programs for alleviating rural poverty and promoting income growth for rural Zambia households.

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