Does it matter that we don't agree on the definition of poverty? A comparison of four approaches
AbstractWhile there is worldwide agreement on poverty reduction as an overriding goal of development policy, there is little agreement on the definition of poverty. The paper reviews four approaches to the definition and measurement of poverty - the monetary, capability, social exclusion and participatory approaches. It points out the theoretical underpinnings of the various measures, and problems of operationalising them. It argues that each is a construction of reality, involving numerous judgements, which are often not transparent. The different methods have different implications for policy, and also, to the extent that they point to different people as being poor, for targeting. Empirical work in Peru and India shows that there is significant lack of overlap between the methods with, for example, nearly half the population identified as in poverty according to monetary poverty not in capability poverty, and conversely. This confirms similar findings elsewhere. Hence the definition of poverty does matter for poverty eradication strategies.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford in its series QEH Working Papers with number qehwps107.
Date of creation:
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Queen Elizabeth House 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB United Kingdom
Phone: +44 (1865) 281800
Fax: +44 (1865) 281801
Web page: http://www.qeh.ox.ac.uk/
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- Caterina Ruggeri Laderchi & Ruhi Saith & Frances Stewart, 2003. "Does it Matter that we do not Agree on the Definition of Poverty? A Comparison of Four Approaches," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(3), pages 243-274.
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.:
- Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-31, March.
- Caterina Ruggeri Laderchi, 1997. "Poverty and its many dimensions: The role of income as an indicator," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(3), pages 345-360.
- Caterina Ruggeri Laderchi, . "The Monetary Approach to Poverty: A Survey of Concepts and Methods," QEH Working Papers qehwps58, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
- John Micklewright, 2002.
"Social Exclusion and Children: A European view for a US debate,"
Innocenti Working Papers
inwopa02/19, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.
- John Micklewright, 2002. "Social Exclusion and Children: A European view for a US debate," CASE Papers case51, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
- John Micklewright, 2002. "Social exclusion and children: a European view for a US debate," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6430, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1996.
"Why have some Indian states done better than others at reducing rural poverty?,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
1594, The World Bank.
- Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1998. "Why Have Some Indian States Done Better Than Others at Reducing Rural Poverty?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 17-38, February.
- Alkire, Sabina, 2005.
"Valuing Freedoms: Sen's Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction,"
Oxford University Press, number 9780199283316, Octomber.
- Alkire, Sabina, 2002. "Valuing Freedoms: Sen's Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199245796, Octomber.
- Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
- Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2002.
" Growth Is Good for the Poor,"
Journal of Economic Growth,
Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 195-225, September.
- Miguel Székely & Nora Lustig & Martin Cumpa & José Antonio Mejía-Guerra, 2000.
"Do We Know How Much Poverty There Is?,"
6477, Inter-American Development Bank.
- Lipton, M., 1988. "The Poor And The Poorest," World Bank - Discussion Papers 25, World Bank.
- Ravallion, M., 1998. "Poverty Lines in Theory and Practice," Papers 133, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
- Cornia, Giovanni Andrea & Jolly, Richard & Stewart, Frances (ed.), 1987. "Adjustment with a Human Face: Volume 1, Protecting the Vulnerable and Promoting Growth," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286097, Octomber.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Rachel Crawford).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.