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Decomposing poverty changes into vertical and horizontal components

  • Sami Bibi
  • Jean-Yves Duclos

Variations in aggregate poverty indices can be due to differences in average poverty intensity, to changes in the welfare distances between those poor of initially unequal welfare status and/or to emerging disparities in welfare among those poor of initially similar welfare status. This note uses a general cost-of-inequality approach that decomposes the total change in poverty into a sum of indices of each of these three components. This decomposition can serve inter alia to integrate horizontal and vertical equity criteria in the poverty alleviation assessment of social and economic programmes. The use of these measures is briefly illustrated using Tunisian data. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd and the Board of Trustees of the Bulletin of Economic Research, 2005.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Bulletin of Economic Research.

Volume (Year): 57 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (04)
Pages: 205-215

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Handle: RePEc:bla:buecrs:v:57:y:2005:i:2:p:205-215
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  1. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  2. Charles Blackorby & David Donaldson, 1984. "Ethical Social Index Numbers and the Measurement of Effective Tax-Benefit Progressivity," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 17(4), pages 683-94, November.
  3. Tuck, L. & Lindert, K., 1996. "From Universal Food Subsidies to a Self-Targeted Program: A Case Study in Tunisian Reform," World Bank - Discussion Papers 351, World Bank.
  4. Duclos, Jean-Yves & Lambert, Peter J., 1997. "A Normative Approach to Measuring Classical Horizontal Inequity," Cahiers de recherche 9701, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
  5. Peter Lambert & Xavier Ramos, 1997. "Horizontal Inequity and Vertical Redistribution," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 25-37, January.
  6. Jenkins, Stephen P & Lambert, Peter J, 1997. "Three 'I's of Poverty Curves, with an Analysis of UK Poverty Trends," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(3), pages 317-27, July.
  7. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
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