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Understanding Poverty among the Elderly in India: Implications for Social Pension Policy

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  • Pal, Sarmistha

    ()
    (University of Surrey)

  • Palacios, Robert

    ()
    (World Bank)

Abstract

The Government of India is implementing a new policy which dramatically increases funding for a cash transfer program targeted to the poor elderly. The expansion of this ‘social pension’ in terms of coverage and benefit levels is taking place with little understanding of poverty among India’s elderly or its determinants. This paper finds that households with elderly members do not have higher poverty rates than non-elderly households. This result is robust under various measures that take into account the size and composition of households. Separate evidence suggests that part of the explanation for this phenomenon is that the poor have higher mortality rates and are therefore underrepresented. This explanation has important implications for social pension policy and suggests that programs that reduce elderly mortality may actually increase the relative poverty levels of the elderly.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3431.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Development Studies, 2011, 47 (7), 1017 - 1037
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3431

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Related research

Keywords: household demographic composition; adjusted poverty indices; elderly contribution; old age poverty; survivorship bias;

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References

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  1. Kakwani, Nanak & Subbarao, Kalanidhi, 2005. "Aging and poverty in Africa and the role of social pensions," Social Protection Discussion Papers 32752, The World Bank.
  2. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2010. "Aging and Death under a Dollar a Day," NBER Chapters, in: Research Findings in the Economics of Aging, pages 169-203 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1995. "Measuring Poverty Among the Elderly," NBER Working Papers 5296, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. David M. Cutler & Angus S. Deaton & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2006. "The Determinants of Mortality," Working Papers id:359, eSocialSciences.
  5. 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.
  6. Meenakshi, J. V. & Ray, Ranjan, 2002. "Impact of household size and family composition on poverty in rural India," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 539-559, October.
  7. Sarmistha Pal & Robert Palacios, 2005. "Old Age Poverty In The Indian States: What The Household Data Can Say?," Labor and Demography 0505015, EconWPA.
  8. 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.
  9. Willmore, Larry, 2007. "Universal Pensions for Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 24-51, January.
  10. Sugata Ghosh & Sarmistha Pal, 2003. "The effect of inequality on growth: Theory and evidence from the Indian states," Development and Comp Systems 0309006, EconWPA.
  11. Zachary Zimmer & Julia Kwong, 2003. "Family size and support of older adults in urban and rural China: Current effects and future implications," Demography, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 23-44, February.
  12. Hills, John, 2004. "Inequality and the State," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199276646.
  13. Puja Dutta & Stephen Howes & Rinku Murgai, 2010. "Small but effective: India's targeted unconditional cash transfers," ASARC Working Papers 2010-18, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
  14. R. Radhakrishna & K. Hanumantha Rao & C. Ravi & B. Sambi Reddy, 2006. "Estimation and determinants of chronic poverty in India: An Alternative approach," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2006-007, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
  15. Kochar, Anjini, 1999. "Evaluating Familial Support for the Elderly: The Intrahousehold Allocation of Medical Expenditures in Rural Pakistan," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(3), pages 620-56, April.
  16. 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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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Pandey, Manoj K., 2009. "On ageing, health and poverty in rural India," MPRA Paper 15932, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Neeraj Kaushal, 2013. "How Public Pension affects Elderly Labor Supply and Well-being: Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 19088, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Manoj K. Pandey, 2009. "Poverty and Disability among Indian Elderly: Evidence from Household Survey," ASARC Working Papers 2009-09, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
  4. Sanjay Mohanty & Rajesh Chauhan & Sumit Mazumdar & Akanksha Srivastava, 2014. "Out-of-pocket Expenditure on Health Care Among Elderly and Non-elderly Households in India," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 115(3), pages 1137-1157, February.
  5. Pandey, Manoj K., 2009. "Poverty and disability among elderly in India: evidences from household survey," MPRA Paper 15580, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Rajan, Irudaya, 2010. "Demographic ageing and employment in India," ILO Working Papers 455325, International Labour Organization.
  7. Manoj K. Pandey, 2009. "On Ageing, Health and Poverty in Rural India," ASARC Working Papers 2009-14, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
  8. P. Arokiasamy & David E. Bloom & Jinkook Lee & Kevin Feeney & Marija Ozolins, 2011. "Longitudinal Aging Study in India: Vision, Design, Implementation, and Some Early Results," PGDA Working Papers 8211, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  9. Akanksha Srivastava & Sanjay Mohanty, 2012. "Poverty Among Elderly in India," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 109(3), pages 493-514, December.
  10. Manoj K. Pandey, 2013. "Elderly's Health Shocks and Household's Ex-ante Poverty in India," ASARC Working Papers 2013-01, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.

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