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Poverty Mapping with Aggregate Census Data: What is the Loss in Precision?

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  • Nicholas Minot
  • Bob Baulch

Abstract

Spatially disaggregated maps of the incidence of poverty can be constructed by combining household survey data and census data. In some countries (notably China and India), national statistics agencies are reluctant, for reasons of confidentiality, to release household-level census data, but they are generally more willing to release aggregated census data, such as village- or district-level means. This paper examines the loss in precision associated with using aggregated census data instead of household-level data to generate poverty estimates. The authors show analytically that using aggregated census data will result in poverty rates that are biased downward (upward) if the rate is below (above) 50%, and that the bias approaches zero as the poverty rate approaches zero, 50%, and 100%. Using data from Vietnam, it is found that the mean absolute error in estimating district-level poverty rates is 2.5 percentage points if the census data are aggregated to the enumeration-area level means, and 3-4 percentage points if the data are aggregated to commune or district level. Finally, the authors propose a method for reducing the error using variances calculated from the census. When this approach is applied to the Vietnam data, this method can cut the size of the aggregation errors by around 75%. Copyright United Nations University 2005.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Review of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 9 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Pages: 5-24

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Handle: RePEc:bla:rdevec:v:9:y:2005:i:1:p:5-24

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  1. Chris Elbers & Jean O. Lanjouw & Peter Lanjouw, 2003. "Micro--Level Estimation of Poverty and Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 355-364, January.
  2. Minot, Nicholas, 2000. "Generating Disaggregated Poverty Maps: An Application to Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 319-331, February.
  3. Minot, Nicholas & Baulch, Bob, 2002. "The spatial distribution of poverty in Vietnam and the potential for targeting," MTID discussion papers 42, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  4. Minot, Nicholas & Baulch, Bob & Epperecht, Michael, 2006. "Poverty and inequality in Vietnam: spatial patterns and geographic determinants," Research reports 148, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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Cited by:
  1. Minot, Nicholas & Baulch, Bob, 2005. "Spatial patterns of poverty in Vietnam and their implications for policy," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(5-6), pages 461-475.
  2. Bruno Arpino & Arnstein Aassve, 2014. "The role of villages in households’ poverty exit: evidence from a multilevel model for rural Vietnam," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 48(4), pages 2175-2189, July.

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