Working Paper
The Fall of the Elephant

Two Decades of Poverty Increase in Côte d’Ivoire (1988-2008)

At the end of the 1980s, Côte d’Ivoire entered a deep macroeconomic crisis that put an end to the often-praised ‘Ivorian miracle’. After the death of the founding father Houphouet-Boigny, unrestrained political competition added to bad economic conditions and led to the nightmare of civil war. Drawing from a series of five household surveys covering two decades (1988-2008), we tell the story of this descent into hell from the standpoint of poverty and living standards. In 2008, after five years of civil war and another episode yet to come (2010-11), the extreme US$1.25 poverty headcount had reached a historical record, with Northern areas deeply impoverished by the partition.