The conventional wisdom in Africa is that economic reforms may have stimulated economic growth, but the benefits of this growth have been uneven, favoring urban households and farmers with good market access. This idea, although quite plausible, has rarely been tested empirically. In this paper, we develop a new approach to measuring trends in poverty and inequality and apply it to Tanzania in order to explore the relationship between rural poverty and market access. We find that, between 1991/92 and 2003, poverty fell the least in Dar es Salaam and the most in rural areas. Rural poverty is related to remoteness, but the relationship is surprisingly weak and it varies depending on the definition used. We find little evidence that remote rural areas are being "left behind", either in relative or in absolute terms.
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