Poverty in Europe and the USA: Exchanging official measurement methods
AbstractOfficial poverty methodologies differ from other poverty measurement methods in the sense that the official ones are more often used as a benchmark to develop new policies as well as to evaluate the performance of existing programs. Europe has the tradition and the practice to use relative poverty as “official” poverty estimates (Common Laeken indicators); the USA use an objective method to estimate official poverty (Orshansky indicator). Although related, each approach portrays different dimensions of poverty. In this study we compare the official poverty methodologies of the USA and EU by applying them on datasets of both countries. Using the harmonized European Community Household Panel (ECHP) for the EU and the Panel Study on Income Dynamics (PSID) for the USA, we compare poverty trends in the USA and EU in relative and absolute terms on a national level as well as for various subgroups of the populations. Additionally, we use the panel dimension of the data to analyze individual poverty dynamics. We find considerable differences between the estimates based on Laeken indicators and the estimates based on an Orshansky type of technology. It was expected that in general Orshansky generates lower poverty estimates than the Laeken indicators. However, it is puzzling to find that a.) these differences are less systematic than expected and b.) these differences are not constant over time and in some cases even have the reverse sign. These findings point to the desirability of involving both poverty concepts into (official) poverty assessments.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 4669.
Date of creation: Aug 2007
Date of revision:
poverty; absolute; relative; social policy; United States; European Union;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
- H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
- H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-09-09 (All new papers)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
- Notten, Geranda & Neubourg, Chris de, 2007. "Relative or absolute poverty in the US and EU? The battle of the rates," MPRA Paper 5313, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 15 May 2007.
- Notten, Geranda & de Neubourg, Chris, 2007. "The policy relevance of absolute and relative poverty headcounts: What's in a number?," MPRA Paper 4668, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Jonathan Bradshaw & Leonardo Menchini & Yekaterina Chzhen & Gill Main & Bruno Martorano & Chris De Neubourg & UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, 2012. "Child Deprivation, Multidimensional Poverty and Monetary Poverty in Europe," Innocenti Working Papers inwopa657, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, revised 2012.
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