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An aspect of variable population poverty comparisons

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  • Hassoun, Nicole
  • Subramanian, S.

Abstract

This paper demonstrates that the property of Replication Invariance, generally considered to be an innocuous requirement for the extension of fixed-population poverty comparisons to variable-population contexts, is incompatible with other plausible variable- and fixed-population axioms. This fact raises questions about what constitutes an appropriate headcount assessment of poverty, in terms of whether one should focus on the proportion, or the absolute numbers, of the population in poverty. This observation, in turn, has important implications for tracking poverty and setting targets for its reduction or elimination.

Suggested Citation

  • Hassoun, Nicole & Subramanian, S., 2012. "An aspect of variable population poverty comparisons," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 238-241.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:98:y:2012:i:2:p:238-241
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2011.07.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. S. Subramanian, 2005. "Headcount Poverty Comparisons," One Pager 18, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    2. Blackorby,Charles & Bossert,Walter & Donaldson,David J., 2005. "Population Issues in Social Choice Theory, Welfare Economics, and Ethics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521532587.
    3. Kundu, Amitabh & Smith, Tony E, 1983. "An Impossibility Theorem on Poverty Indices," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(2), pages 423-434, June.
    4. Satya Chakravarty & Ravi Kanbur & Diganta Mukherjee, 2006. "Population growth and poverty measurement," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 26(3), pages 471-483, June.
    5. Ravi Kanbur & Diganta Mukherjee, 2007. "Premature Mortality And Poverty Measurement," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(4), pages 339-359, October.
    6. Zheng, Buhong, 1994. "Can a Poverty Index Be Both Relative and Absolute?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1453-1458, November.
    7. Broome, John, 1996. "The Welfare Economics of Population," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 177-193, April.
    8. Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A, 1986. "Properties of Fixed-Population Poverty Indices," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(3), pages 667-688, October.
    9. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:9:y:2003:i:2:p:1-10 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1984. "Social criteria for evaluating population change," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 13-33, November.
    11. Julia Paxton, 2003. "A poverty outreach index and its application to microfinance," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 9(2), pages 1-10.
    12. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-231, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sean Higgins & Nora Lustig, 2015. "Can Poverty-Reducing and Progressive Tax and Transfer System Hurt the Poor?," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1333, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    2. Higgins, Sean & Lustig, Nora, 2016. "Can a poverty-reducing and progressive tax and transfer system hurt the poor?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 63-75.
    3. Sanjay G. Reddy & Rahul Lahoti, 2015. "$1.90 Per Day: What Does it Say?," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 189, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    4. Luc Christiaensen & Anthony Shorrocks, 2012. "Measuring poverty over time," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 10(2), pages 137-143, June.
    5. Subramanian, Subbu, 2011. "The focus axiom and poverty: On the co-existence of precise language and ambiguous meaning in economic measurement," Economics Discussion Papers 2011-41, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    6. Subramanian, Subbu, 2012. "The focus axiom and poverty: On the co-existence of precise language and ambiguous meaning in economic measurement," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 6, pages 1-21.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Variable populations; Fixed populations; Replication Invariance; Population Focus; Income focus; Impossibility result;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General

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