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Vague language and precise measurement: the case of poverty

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  • Mozaffar Qizilbash

Abstract

Economists have often attempted precise measurement of phenomena which involve vague predicates. Difficulties emerge in such attempts if vagueness is not explicitly acknowledged at the methodological level. In this paper, various accounts of vague concepts are used to think about the economics of poverty measurement. Approaches to dealing with vagueness in this context tend to involve 'epistemic' and 'fuzzy set theoretic' approaches. Indeed, only the fuzzy set theoretic literature takes on vagueness explicitly. It is argued that both these approaches encounter significant difficulties, and that fuzzy set theoretic measures are hard to interpret intuitively. A 'supervaluationist' approach to the vagueness of poverty is developed. It is argued that this approach has much to recommend it and that some fuzzy measures can be interpreted intuitively as measures of vulnerability on this account.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Economic Methodology.

Volume (Year): 10 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 41-58

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:10:y:2001:i:1:p:41-58

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Related research

Keywords: Poverty; Vagueness; Fuzzy Sets; Supervaluationism; Methodology;

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Cited by:
  1. Leßmann, Ortrud, 2011. "Empirische Studien zum Capability Ansatz auf der Grundlage von Befragungen: Ein Überblick," UFZ Discussion Papers 4/2011, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
  2. Bocquier, Philippe & Nordman, Christophe J. & Vescovo, Aude, 2010. "Employment Vulnerability and Earnings in Urban West Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 1297-1314, September.
  3. David A. Clark, 2005. "Core Poverty, Basic Capabilities and Vagueness: An Application to the South African Context," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-026, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. K. Pushpangadan & G.Murugan, 2008. "Dynamics of rural water supply in coastal Kerala: A Sustainable development view," Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum Working Papers 402, Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum, India.
  5. Qizilbash, Mozaffar, 2004. "On the Arbitrariness and Robustness of Multi-Dimensional Poverty Rankings," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  6. Vivien Kana Zeumo & Blaise Some & Alexis Tsoukiàs, 2011. "A survey on Multidimensional Poverty Measurement: a Decision Aiding Perspective," Working Papers hal-00875525, HAL.
  7. David Hulme, 2013. "Poverty and development thinking:synthesis or uneasy compromise?," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 18013, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
  8. María Noel Pi Alperin, 2009. "The impact of Argentina's social assistance program plan jefes y jefas de hogar on structural poverty," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 0(Special i), pages 49-81.
  9. PI ALPERIN Maria Noel & BERZOSA Guayarmina, 2011. "A fuzzy logic approach to measure overweight," CEPS/INSTEAD Working Paper Series 2011-55, CEPS/INSTEAD.
  10. Mozaffar Qizilbash, 2002. "A note on the measurement of poverty and vulnerability in the South African context," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(6), pages 757-772.
  11. Botti, Fabrizio & D'Ippoliti, Carlo, 2012. "Sexual orientation and social exclusion in Italy," MPRA Paper 39246, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Kojo Appiah-Kubi & Edward Amanning-Ampomah & Christian Ahortor, 2007. "Multi-Dimensional Analysis of Poverty in Ghana Using Fuzzy Sets Theory," Working Papers PMMA 2007-21, PEP-PMMA.
  13. Belhadj, Besma & Limam, Mohamed, 2012. "Unidimensional and multidimensional fuzzy poverty measures: New approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 995-1002.
  14. Pi Alperin, Maria Noel, 2008. "A comparison of multidimensional deprivation characteristics between natives and immigrants in Luxembourg," IRISS Working Paper Series 2008-14, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.

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