On the welfarist rationale for relative poverty lines
AbstractThe theory and evidence supporting a relativist approach to poverty measurement are critically reviewed. Various sources of welfare interdependence are identified, including the idea of"relative deprivation"as well other (positive and negative) welfare effects for poor people of belonging to a better-off group. An economic model combines informal risk sharing with the idea of a"positional good,"and conditions are derived in which the relative deprivation effect dominates, implying a relative poverty measure. The paper then reviews the problems encountered in testing for welfare effects of relative deprivation and discusses the implications of micro evidence from Malawi. The results are consistent with the emphasis given to absolute level of living in development policy discussions. However, relative deprivation is still evident in the data from this poor but unequal country, and it is likely to become a more important factor as the country develops.
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 The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4486.
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2008
Date of revision:
Rural Poverty Reduction; Economic Theory&Research; Inequality; Population Policies;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-02-02 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEV-2008-02-02 (Development)
- NEP-HAP-2008-02-02 (Economics of Happiness)
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.:
- Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
- de Janvry, Alain & Sadoulet, Elisabeth & Winters, Paul C. & Murgai, Rinku, 2000.
"Localized and Incomplete Mutual Insurance,"
12905, University of New England, School of Economics.
- Jyotsna Jalan & Martin Ravallion, 1998. "Geographic Poverty Traps?," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 86, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
- Groot, Wim, 2000. "Adaptation and scale of reference bias in self-assessments of quality of life," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 403-420, May.
- Kapteyn, Arie, 1994.
"The Measurement of Household Cost Functions: Revealed Preference versus Subjective Measures,"
Journal of Population Economics,
Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 333-50, November.
- Kapteyn, A.J., 1994. "The measurement of household cost functions: Revealed preference versus subjective measures," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-364386, Tilburg University.
- Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2000.
"Identifying welfare effects from subjective questions,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
2301, The World Bank.
- Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2001. "Identifying Welfare Effects from Subjective Questions," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(271), pages 335-57, August.
- Hagenaars, Aldi J M & van Praag, Bernard M S, 1985. "A Synthesis of Poverty Line Definitions," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 31(2), pages 139-54, June.
- Maitra, Pushkar & Ray, Ranjan, 2003. "The effect of transfers on household expenditure patterns and poverty in South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 23-49, June.
- McBride, Michael, 2001. "Relative-income effects on subjective well-being in the cross-section," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 251-278, July.
- J. Solnick, Sara & Hemenway, David, 1998. "Is more always better?: A survey on positional concerns," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 373-383, November.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.