Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

Characteristics of Poverty in Upper Middle Income Countries

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is a U.S. foreign aid agency that seeks to reduce global poverty through targeted economic initiatives. Under current statute, MCC is restricted from funding countries that exceed the World Bank’s established upper middle income threshold. MCC faces a decreasing candidate pool, with a 35 percent reduction in the number of countries classified as low and lower middle income in the last two decades. While this progress can be attributed to global efforts to combat poverty, it is undermined by the fact that world’s poorest people are no longer living in the world’s poorest countries. MCC has acknowledged the limitations of using strict cutoff thresholds and is interested in understanding the most salient characteristics of poverty in upper middle income countries (UMICs) in order to better target its aid initiatives.

Policy Brief

Additional Info

  • Volume or issue no.: Workshop in International Public Affairs, PA 860, taught by Timothy Smeeding in Spring 2017
  • Author(s): Drew Buys, Hyunseok Kim, Matthew Smalley, Christie Stassel, Julianna Stohs, Soong Kit Wong
  • Client Name: Millennium Challenge Corporation