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

Swadesh R. Bose


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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