Trend of Real Income of the Rural Poor in East Pakistan, 1949-66

Publication Year : 1968

Pakistan’s gross national product has been rising over time. While GNP per capita remained practically unchanged during the 1950’s, it increased appreciably in the 1960’s. The trend of per capita income does not, however, indicate whether and to what extent economic development had ‘trickle down’ effects to improve the lot of the relatively poorer sections of society. Studies of intertemporal changes in inequality of income distributions and in levels of income (consumption) could show what changes actually took place in their absolute and relative income positions. “Diminishing inequalities in the distribution of income” is one of the professed objectives of Pakistan’s Third Five-Year Plan [21, p. 40]. This objective implies both an absolute and a relative improvement in the income level of the poorer sections of population. The two studies which are known to have been made on income distribution in Pakistan do not cover enough ground to indicate whether this was achieved in the past: the study by Mrs. Haq [10] is limited to personal income distribution in the high-income brackets (income tax payers) in urban areas for the period 1948/49 to 1960/61, and that by Bergan [1], although comprehensive, refers to a single year, 1963/64.

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