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Regional or National Poverty Lines? The Case of Uganda in the 1990s

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  • Appleton, Simon

Abstract

Absolute poverty lines are often derived from the cost of obtaining sufficient calories. Where staples vary across regions, such poverty lines may differ depending on whether they are set using national or regional food baskets. Regional poverty lines are open to the objection that they may be contaminated by income effects. This paper explores this issue by focusing on Uganda, a country where widening spatial inequalities in the 1990s have caused concern. Conflicting results from earlier studies have suggested that the spatial pattern of poverty in Uganda is very sensitive to whether national or regional food baskets are used in setting poverty lines. We confirm this suggestion by comparing the spatial profile of poverty in 1993 using national and regional poverty lines. However, since the regions consuming the more expensive staple sources of calories are also those with higher incomes, using simple regional poverty lines is problematic. Instead, a method of setting regional poverty lines is considered that adjusts for income differentials between regions. Even with this adjustment, the use of regional food baskets implies markedly different spatial profile of poverty in Uganda to the use of a national food basket. It is argued that a preference for regional or national poverty lines depends on how one conceives of welfare. Copyright 2003, Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://www.wider.unu.edu/stc/repec/pdfs/rp2003/dp2003-90.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) in its series Working Paper Series with number UNU-WIDER Research Paper DP2003/90.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:dp2003-90

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Keywords: Uganda; poverty; inequality;

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References

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  1. Lanjouw, Peter & Ravallion, Martin, 1995. "Poverty and Household Size," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(433), pages 1415-34, November.
  2. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
  3. Kakwani, Nanak, 1993. "Statistical Inference in the Measurement of Poverty," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(4), pages 632-39, November.
  4. John Mackinnon & Ritva Reinikka, 2002. "How Research Can Assist Policy: The Case of Economic Reforms in Uganda," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 17(2), pages 267-292, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Kappel, Robert & Lay, Jann & Steiner, Susan, 2005. "Uganda: No more pro-poor growth?," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Kiel 2005 31, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  2. Kappel, Robert & Lay, Jann & Steiner, Susan, 2004. "The Missing Links - Uganda's Economic Reforms and Pro-Poor Growth," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 3840, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  3. Charlotte Guénard & Sandrine Mesplé-Somps, 2010. "Measuring Inequalities: Do Household Surveys Paint A Realistic Picture?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 56(3), pages 519-538, 09.
  4. Bussolo, Maurizio & Godart, Olivier & Lay, Jann & Thiele, Rainer, 2006. "The Impact of Coffee Price Changes on Rural Households in Uganda," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25345, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  5. Sandrine Mesplé-Somps & Charlotte Guénard, 2006. "Measuring Inequalities: Do The Surveys Give The Real Picture? Study Of Two Surveys In Cote D’Ivoire And Madagascar," Working Papers 18, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.

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