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The Time Lag In Annual Household-Based Income Measures: Assessing And Correcting The Bias


  • Annelies Debels
  • Leen Vandecasteele


Annual income data are typically provided with a time lag. This article reviews several ways of dealing with this time lag in the construction of annual household-based income measures for individual economic well-being. It also proposes an alternative method that yields better estimates for equivalized household income, especially in the case of household composition change. Next, the two most commonly applied income measures are compared to this alternative measure with empirical income data from the European Community Household Panel. This comparison reveals that ignoring the time lag and household changes leads to substantial bias in income and poverty estimates and to erroneous conclusions about the determinants of poverty entry. The evidence in this article will be useful to researchers who want to make a well-informed choice between different annual income measures. Copyright 2008 The Authors.

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  • Annelies Debels & Leen Vandecasteele, 2008. "The Time Lag In Annual Household-Based Income Measures: Assessing And Correcting The Bias," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 54(1), pages 71-88, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:54:y:2008:i:1:p:71-88

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Berry, Albert & Bourguignon, Francois & Morrisson, Christian, 1983. "The Level of World Inequality: How Much Can One Say?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 29(3), pages 217-241, September.
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    5. Fields, Gary S, 1989. "Changes in Poverty and Inequality in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 4(2), pages 167-185, July.
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    7. Datt, Gaurav, 1998. "Computational tools for poverty measurement and analysis," FCND discussion papers 50, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    8. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav & van de Walle, Dominique, 1991. "Quantifying Absolute Poverty in the Developing World," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(4), pages 345-361, December.
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    10. Summers, Robert & Heston, Alan, 1988. "A New Set of International Comparisons of Real Product and Price Levels Estimates for 130 Countries, 1950-1985," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(1), pages 1-25, March.
    11. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1992. "Growth and redistribution components of changes in poverty measures : A decomposition with applications to Brazil and India in the 1980s," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 275-295, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Katja Landau & Stephan Klasen & Walter Zucchini, 2012. "Measuring Vulnerability to Poverty Using Long-Term Panel Data," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 118, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    2. Ayllón, Sara & Fusco, Alessio, 2017. "Are income poverty and perceptions of financial difficulties dynamically interrelated?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 103-114.
    3. Iryna Kyzyma & Donald R. Williams, 2017. "Public cash transfers and poverty dynamics in Europe," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 52(2), pages 485-524, March.
    4. Eirini Andriopoulou & Panagiotis Tsakloglou, "undated". "The determinants of poverty transitions in Europe and the role of duration dependence," DEOS Working Papers 1120, Athens University of Economics and Business.
    5. Olga Cantó & Carlos Gradín & Coral Del Río, 2012. "Pobreza Crónica, Transitoria Y Recurrente En España," Revista de Economia Aplicada, Universidad de Zaragoza, Departamento de Estructura Economica y Economia Publica, vol. 20(1), pages 69-94, Spring.
    6. Sara Ayllón, 2013. "Understanding poverty persistence in Spain," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 201-233, June.
    7. José Arranz & Olga Cantó, 2012. "Measuring the effect of spell recurrence on poverty dynamics—evidence from Spain," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 10(2), pages 191-217, June.
    8. Nuno Alves & Carlos Martins, 2015. "Income smoothing mechanisms after labor market transitions," Working Papers w201510, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    9. repec:kap:reveho:v:15:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11150-015-9321-x is not listed on IDEAS

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