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Estimating Household Permanent Income from Ownership of Physical Assets

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  • June Y. T. Po

    ()
    (Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies)

  • Jocelyn E. Finlay

    ()
    (Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies)

  • Mark B. Brewster
  • David Canning

    ()
    (Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies)

Abstract

Estimation of permanent income from household surveys has been used for poverty surveillance and the examination of causal processes at the household-level in low- and middle- income countries. While previous approaches are appropriate for within-country comparisons, we estimate internationally and temporally comparable household permanent income. We develop a strategy for estimating a household wealth index that is comparable across multiple countries and multiple time periods. We use a latent variable approach to estimate an absolute measure of wealth from survey data detailing asset ownership. We validate the approach using survey data from three countries in the Living Standards Measure Study that has both expenditure and asset information. The wealth estimates have correlations of 0.75, 0.70 and 0.68 with household expenditure reported in LSMS South Africa 1994, Tanzania 2004 and Peru 1994, respectively. Egypt 1988 and 2005 Demographic and Health Surveys were used to demonstrate trends in household wealth across time.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Program on the Global Demography of Aging in its series PGDA Working Papers with number 9712.

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Date of creation: Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:gdm:wpaper:9712

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Web page: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/pgda
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Keywords: Household income; physical assets; wealth index;

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  1. Deaton, A. S., 1975. "The measurement of income and price elasticities," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 261-273, July.
  2. Deon Filmer & Lant Pritchett, 2001. "Estimating Wealth Effects Without Expenditure Data—Or Tears: An Application To Educational Enrollments In States Of India," Demography, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 115-132, February.
  3. Erich Battistin & Richard Blundell & Arthur Lewbel, 2009. "Why Is Consumption More Log Normal than Income? Gibrat's Law Revisited," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(6), pages 1140-1154, December.
  4. Morris, Saul Sutkover & Calogero, Carletto & Hoddinott, John & Christiaensen, Luc J. M., 1999. "Validity of rapid estimates of household wealth and income for health surveys in rural Africa," FCND discussion papers 72, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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