The Biophysical Determinants of Global Poverty

Deborah Balk, Columbia University
Glenn D. Deane, University at Albany, State University of New York
Marc Levy, Columbia University

Though much is known about socioeconomic correlates of poverty, much less is known about poverty’s biophysical determinants. Discrete evidence indicates that poverty is highly connected to poor-quality soils, drought-prone climates, high-altitude residence, and lack of access to markets, urban areas, and ports or coastal areas. Nevertheless, efforts to make universal statements about biophysical and geographic determinants of poverty has been limited largely to case-studies or explanations of unexplained residual effects. This study aims to fill that gap by examining the biophysical determinants of one aspect of poverty -- infant mortality -- via large-scale data integration to render biophysical parameters in units compatible with those from which the infant mortality data were collected. A multi-level, spatial regression model that accommodates inherently complex sampling frames is the basic method of analysis.

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Presented in Session 103: Population and Environment: Water and Land Resources