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Public Expenditure Reforms and Rural Poverty in Sri Lanka


BM Sumanaratne

Senior lecturer, Department of Economics, University of Ruhuna, Matara, LK
About BM
B M Sumanaratne is a senior lecturer at the Department of Economics, University of Ruhuna. He has completed his higher studies leading to PhD at the University of Sheffield UK in 2010. For the doctoral studies he presented a thesis entitled “A Study of Rural Poverty of Sri Lanka with special emphasis on Reducing the Role of the State under Structural Adjustment” which was supervised by Prof Paul Mosely and Prof Andrew Tylecote. Dr Sumanratna is a recipient of a NCAS grant.
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Reducing the role of the state under the Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAP) has been subject to considerable criticism mainly due to its high social cost. Based on the data of the Household Income Expenditure Surveys (HIES) in 1990/91 and 2002 and fiscal data from 1975 to 2005, and qualitative evidence the study estimated the impact of public expenditure reforms under SAPs on rural poverty in Sri Lanka. The article argues that SAPs do not seem to have made profound effect on social and economic public spending except on food subsidy. The study estimated poverty elasticities with respect to different expenditure categories based on the simultaneous equation system which allows to appraise direct and indirect effects to get a clear picture of public spending on rural poverty. This article concludes that the poverty reduction effects of government spending on rural roads and education is particularly high compared to other socio-economic expenditure categories. It is worthy to note that targeting government spending is more important to reduce poverty in era of fiscal adjustment when the government is under pressure to cut its budget deficit from various fronts.

Key Words: Agriculture; Fiscal; Human development; Public Expenditure; Rural Poverty; Structural Adjustment Programmes


Sri Lanka Journal of Advanced Social Studies Vol.1(1) 2011 101-144

How to Cite: Sumanaratne, B., 2011. Public Expenditure Reforms and Rural Poverty in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Journal of Advanced Social Studies, 1(1), pp.101–144. DOI:
Published on 25 Nov 2011.
Peer Reviewed


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