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The Measurement Of Poverty With Geographical And Intertemporal Price Dispersion: Evidence From Rwanda

  • Christophe Muller

It is not known to what extent welfare measures result from seasonal and geographical price differences rather than from differences in living standards across households. Using data from Rwanda in 1983, we show that the change in mean living standard indicators caused by local and seasonal price deflation is moderately significant at every quarter. By contrast, the differences in poverty measures caused by this deflation can be considerable, for chronic as well as transient or seasonal poverty indicators. Thus, poverty monitoring and anti-poverty targeting can be badly affected by inaccurate deflation of living standard data. Moreover, when measuring seasonal poverty, the deflation based on regional prices instead of local prices only partially corrects for spatial price dispersion. Using annual local prices instead of quarterly local prices only yields a partial deflation, which distorts the measure of poverty fluctuations across seasons and biases estimates of annual and chronic poverty. Copyright 2008 The Authors.

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Article provided by International Association for Research in Income and Wealth in its journal Review of Income and Wealth.

Volume (Year): 54 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (03)
Pages: 27-49

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Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:54:y:2008:i:1:p:27-49
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