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Low Incomes, Limited Consumption and Poor Well-Being: Statistical Approaches to Poverty Put to The Test of International Comparisons


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  • Daniel Verger


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    The statistical approach to poverty poses conceptual and measurement problems, which are exacerbated when international comparisons endeavour to compare highly diverse societies from the point of view of current living standards and their economic and political history. National definitions are far from uniform. The English-speaking world and the Eastern European countries tend to use measurements based on the capacity to purchase more or less variable shopping baskets - an approach that is often, but improperly called absolute. Western Europe traditionally takes a relative approach. The fact that most of the countries adopt a monetary poverty concept does not mean that the definitions based on being deprived in terms of consumption or finding it hard to balance the budget should be overlooked. Each approach has its strengths and weaknesses, and each is based on normative assumptions corresponding to societal choices, political choices and implicit social norms.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques in its journal Economie et Statistique.

    Volume (Year): 383-384-385 (2005)
    Issue (Month): (December)
    Pages: 7-45

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    Handle: RePEc:crs:ecosta:es383-384-385a

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    Related research

    Keywords: Multiple Dimensions of Poverty; International Comparisons; Living Standard;

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