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Core Poverty, Basic Capabilities and Vagueness: An Application to the South African Context

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  • David A. Clark
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    Abstract

    This paper applies a framework which addresses the vagueness of poverty. The `core poor` are those who are unambiguously poor. In applying the framework we use Sen`s capability approach and results from a recent survey. These results suggest that some South Africans set tough standards for someone to qualify as poor. Even by these standards, our lower bound estimate of core poverty is higher than existing estimates of the `most deprived` and `ultra-poor`. This result is sensitive to the criteria used in applying the framework, though other results are more robust. While there is evidence that respondents adapted to their living conditions, it was not merely those who were deprived in specific dimensions who endorsed very low cut-offs in those dimensions.

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    File URL: http://www.gprg.org/pubs/workingpapers/pdfs/gprg-wps-026.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number GPRG-WPS-026.

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    Date of creation: 01 Jul 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:gprg-wps-026

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    Keywords: Poverty; Vagueness; Capability; Perceptions of the Poor; Multi-dimensionality; Africa; South Africa;

    References

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    1. Stephan Klasen, 1997. "Poverty, Inequality and Deprivation in South Africa: An Analysis of the 1993 SALDRU Survey," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 51-94, July.
    2. Sen, Amartya, 1983. "Poor, Relatively Speaking," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 153-69, July.
    3. David Clark, 2003. "Concepts and Perceptions of Human Well-being: Some Evidence from South Africa," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(2), pages 173-196.
    4. Oswald, Andrew J, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-31, November.
    5. Atkinson, A B, 1987. "On the Measurement of Poverty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 749-64, July.
    6. Indranil Dutta & Prasanta K. Pattanaik & Yongsheng Xu, 2003. "On Measuring Deprivation and the Standard of Living in a Multidimensional Framework on the Basis of Aggregate Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(278), pages 197-221, 05.
    7. Klasen, Stephan, 2000. "Measuring Poverty and Deprivation in South Africa," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(1), pages 33-58, March.
    8. Bourguignon, F. & Chakravarty, S.R., 1998. "The Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty," DELTA Working Papers 98-12, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
    9. Mozaffar Qizilbash, 2001. "Vague language and precise measurement: the case of poverty," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(1), pages 41-58.
    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. A. Atkinson, 2003. "Multidimensional Deprivation: Contrasting Social Welfare and Counting Approaches," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 51-65, April.
    12. Aliber, Michael, 2003. "Chronic Poverty in South Africa: Incidence, Causes and Policies," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 473-490, March.
    13. Diane Colasanto & Arie Kapteyn & Jacques van der Gaag, 1984. "Two Subjective Definitions of Poverty: Results from the Wisconsin Basic Needs Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(1), pages 127-138.
    14. White, Howard, 2002. "Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches in Poverty Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 511-522, March.
    15. Matin, Imran & Hulme, David, 2003. "Programs for the Poorest: Learning from the IGVGD Program in Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 647-665, March.
    16. Menno Pradhan & Martin Ravallion, 2000. "Measuring Poverty Using Qualitative Perceptions Of Consumption Adequacy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 462-471, August.
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