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Old Age Poverty In The Indian States: What Do The Household Data Tell Us?

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  • Sarmistha Pal

    ()

  • Robert Palacios

    ()

Abstract

In the absence of any official measures of old age poverty, this paper uses National Sample Survey household-level data to investigate the extent and nature of living standards and incidence of poverty among elderly in sixteen major states in India. We construct both individual and household-level poverty indices for the elderly and examine the sensitivity of these poverty indices to different equivalence scales and size economies in consumption. Our analysis highlights the complex nature of old age poverty in the Indian states. While poverty estimates taking into account equivalence scale and size economies in consumption suggest that households with elderly members are less poor than others, the interpretation of this result is more complex. Further analysis suggests that the results are partly a function of differences in demographic composition of the households and a possible survivorship bias due to positive correlation between household incomes and life expectancy. After correcting for the possible sources of bias, there is evidence that poverty is increased by the presence of older elderly (75 and above) in all states. Meanwhile, the conclusion that households with elderly aged sixty and above are less poor appears to be robust across most states.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University in its series CEDI Discussion Paper Series with number 06-08.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: May 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:edb:cedidp:06-08

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  1. Dreze, Jean & Srinivasan, P. V., 1997. "Widowhood and poverty in rural India: Some inferences from household survey data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 217-234, December.
  2. Sugata Ghosh & Sarmistha Pal, 2004. "The Effect of Inequality on Growth: Theory and Evidence from the Indian States," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(1), pages 164-177, 02.
  3. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1998. "Economies of Scale, Household Size, and the Demand for Food," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 897-930, October.
  4. Angus S. Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1998. "6. Measuring Poverty among the Elderly," NBER Chapters, in: Inquiries in the Economics of Aging, pages 169-204 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Hills, John, 2004. "Inequality and the State," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199276646.
  6. Barrientos, Armando & Gorman, Mark & Heslop, Amanda, 2003. "Old Age Poverty in Developing Countries: Contributions and Dependence in Later Life," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 555-570, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Bakshi, Sanjeev & Pathak, Prasanta, 2008. "A statistical analysis of various factors associated with selected health problems among older adults in India," MPRA Paper 40539, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Palacios, Robert & Sluchynsky, Oleksiy, 2006. "Social pensions Part I : their role in the overall pension system," Social Protection Discussion Papers 36237, The World Bank.

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