The main focus of this study is Rural Punjab and it contributes to regional poverty research in two ways; first, using a more recent household survey data, carried out in August 2007 by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), it provides fresh poverty estimates for the rural areas of the Punjab. Second, the poverty differential across the agroclimatic zones of Punjab have been explained by urbanization, overseas migration and the labor market structure operating in these zones. This study shows four major factors that explain inequalities in poverty levels. First, the rural areas of two zones, barani and rice/wheat, are well integrated with urban settings. This integration has allowed their rural populations to work in the industrial sector of Central Punjab and the services sector in North Punjab primarily Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Second, the belt from Lahore to Attock in the Punjab has benefited the most from overseas migration. The flow of remittances has helped in reducing poverty levels. Third, the cotton/wheat and low intensity zone still largely depend for employment on the agricultural sector while this dependency is very low in the barani zone, which has good opportunity to seek job opportunities for its labor force in the armed services and government departments. Finally, demographic and social factors including education are less favorable in the cotton/wheat and low intensity zones which negatively impacts on a breakthrough in poverty reduction.
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