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The Robustness of Poverty Profiles Reconsidered

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  • Tarp, Finn, et al

Abstract

Poverty measures and profiles are used increasingly to guide antipoverty policies in low-income countries. An essential element in these analyses is the specification of a poverty line. However, there are many different methods for setting poverty lines, and different methods can yield strikingly different results, with correspondingly different policy implications. Using recent household survey data from Mozambique, this paper explores the differences that occur using the most common poverty line methodologies, the Food Energy Intake (FEI) and the Cost of Basic Needs (CBN) methods, over different levels of geographic specificity. We find that regional and provincial rankings of Foster, Greer, and Thorbecke poverty indices are not robust to the method of poverty line determination, but that the characteristics of the poor are reasonably similar under all methods. The FEI poverty lines often yield counterintuitive results, whereas the family of CBN poverty lines was more robust. Food consumption patterns of the poor show a high degree of substitution among basic staples from one region to another, which is consistent with observed differences in relative food prices, indicating that CBN poverty lines that allow for regional variation in the food consumption bundle may be most appropriate in these settings.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Economic Development and Cultural Change.

Volume (Year): 51 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: 77-108

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:v:51:y:2002:i:1:p:77-108

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/EDCC/

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Cited by:
  1. Mauro Migotto & Benjamin Davis & Gero Carletto & Kathleen Beegle, 2005. "Measuring Food Security Using Respondents’ Perception of Food Consumption Adequacy," Working Papers 05-10, Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA).
  2. Kenneth R. Simler & Channing Arndt, 2007. "Poverty Comparisons With Absolute Poverty Lines Estimated From Survey Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(2), pages 275-294, 06.
  3. Petrovici, D.A. & Gorton, M., 2005. "An evaluation of the importance of subsistence food production for assessments of poverty and policy targeting: Evidence from Romania," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 205-223, April.
  4. Richard H. Steckel, 2008. "Heights and Human Welfare: Recent Developments and New Directions," NBER Working Papers 14536, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. World Bank, 2008. "Mozambique - Beating the Odds : Sustaining Inclusion in a Growing Economy - A Mozambique Poverty, Gender, and Social Assessment, Volume 1. Main Report," World Bank Other Operational Studies 7981, The World Bank.
  6. Thorbecke, Erik, 2004. "Conceptual and Measurement Issues in Poverty Analysis," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  7. Simler, Kenneth R. & Nhate, Virgulino, 2005. "Poverty, inequality, and geographic targeting: Evidence from Small-Area Estimates in Mozambique," FCND discussion papers 192, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  8. Julia Johannsen & Manfred Zeller & Stephan Klasen, 2007. "The capability dilemma in operational poverty assessment," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 159, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
  9. Gelaw, Fekadu, 2013. "Inefficiency and Incapability Gaps as Causes of Poverty: A Poverty Line-Augmented Efficiency Analysis Using Stochastic Distance Function," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 8(2), August.
  10. Channing Arndt & M. Azhar Hussain & E. Samuel Jones & Virgulino Nhate & Finn Tarp & James Thurlow, 2011. "Explaining Poverty Evolution: The Case of Mozambique," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Working Paper W, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  11. Rasmus Heltberg, 2009. "Malnutrition, poverty, and economic growth," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(S1), pages S77-S88, April.
  12. Arndt, Channing & Simler, Kenneth R., 2005. "Estimating utility-consistent poverty lines," FCND discussion papers 189, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  13. Pekka Virtanen & Dag Ehrenpreis, 2007. "Growth, Poverty and Inequality in Mozambique," Country Study 10, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.

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