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Armut im Kontext reicher Staaten: zur wissenschaftlichen Operationalisierung eines normativen Begriffs


  • Franz F. Eiffe
  • Karin Heitzmann


One of the difficulties in the scientific analysis of poverty is the normative content of this concept. This is not least based on the fact that the notion "poverty" is not only used for scientific purposes, but also by the population at large - with partly profound differences with regard to its interpretation. Against the background of this difficulty, several efforts have been made to adopt the scientific definition of poverty to more closely capture its public meaning. The conceptual-theoretical work to operationalise poverty has gone a long way within the last century. However, there are still quite some difficulties in translating the "new" concepts (which also lead to the establishment of alternative terminologies, e.g. "poverty risk" or "social exclusion") into practice, as is shown regarding recent examples of poverty reports for the region of the European Union and the OECD. Eine der Schwierigkeiten bei der wissenschaftlichen Beschäftigung mit dem Themenbereich "Armut" ist der normative Gehalt dieses Konzepts. Das hat unter anderem damit zu tun, dass der Begriff nicht nur in wissenschaftlichen Analysen, sondern auch in der Alltagssprache verwendet und dabei zum Teil deutlich unterschiedlich definiert wird. Vor dem Hintergrund dieser Problematik hat es etliche Versuche gegeben, die wissenschaftliche Definition von Armut stärker an das Alltagsverständnis der Bevölkerung anzugleichen. Dabei zeigt sich, dass theoretisch-konzeptuelle Arbeiten zur exakten Formulierung des sozialen Phänomens "Armut" im Verlauf des letzten Jahrhunderts weit gediehen sind. Die empirische Umsetzbarkeit dieser Überlegungen stößt allerdings nach wie vor auf Grenzen, wie anhand von jüngeren Beispielen der Armutsberichterstattung für den EU- und OECD-Raum gezeigt wird.

Suggested Citation

  • Franz F. Eiffe & Karin Heitzmann, 2006. "Armut im Kontext reicher Staaten: zur wissenschaftlichen Operationalisierung eines normativen Begriffs," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 75(1), pages 43-57.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwvjh:75-1-4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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 139-154, June.
    2. Atkinson, A B, 1987. "On the Measurement of Poverty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 749-764, July.
    3. repec:mes:challe:v:36:y:1993:i:5:p:59-60 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Duclos, Jean-Yves & Grégoire, Philippe, 1999. "Absolute and Relative Deprivation and the Measurement of Poverty," Cahiers de recherche 9910, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
    5. Michael Förster, 2000. "Trends and Driving Factors in Income Distribution and Poverty in the OECD Area," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 42, OECD Publishing.
    6. Ravallion, M., 1998. "Poverty Lines in Theory and Practice," Papers 133, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
    7. Aldi Hagenaars & Klaas de Vos, 1988. "The Definition and Measurement of Poverty," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(2), pages 211-221.
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