IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The Persistence of Subjective Poverty in Urban Ethiopia

  • Alem, Yonas
  • Köhlin, Gunnar
  • Stage, Jesper

Using data spanning 15years, we study subjective and consumption poverty in urban Ethiopia. Despite rapid economic growth and declining consumption poverty, subjective poverty remains largely unchanged. We find that households with a history of poverty continue to perceive themselves as poor even if their material consumption improves. The relative economic position of households is a strong determinant of subjective poverty. Having some type of employment makes households less likely to perceive themselves as poor, even if they remain in objective poverty. We argue that any analysis to measure the impact of growth on welfare should also encompass subjective measures.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

Volume (Year): 56 (2014)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 51-61

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:56:y:2014:i:c:p:51-61
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Tesfaye Alemayehu Gebremedhin & Stephen Whelan, 2008. "Prices and Poverty in Urban Ethiopia 1," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 17(1), pages 1-33, January.
  2. Arne Bigsten & Abebe Shimeles, 2011. "The persistence of urban poverty in Ethiopia: a tale of two measurements," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(9), pages 835-839.
  3. Butler, J S & Moffitt, Robert, 1982. "A Computationally Efficient Quadrature Procedure for the One-Factor Multinomial Probit Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 761-64, May.
  4. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2005. "Simple solutions to the initial conditions problem in dynamic, nonlinear panel data models with unobserved heterogeneity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(1), pages 39-54.
  5. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2002. "Self-rated economic welfare in Russia," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1453-1473, September.
  6. Arulampalam, Wiji & Stewart, Mark B., 2008. "Simplified Implementation of the Heckman Estimator of the Dynamic Probit Model and a Comparison with Alternative Estimators," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 884, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  7. Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-35, December.
  8. John Knight & Lina Song, 2007. "Subjective Well-being and its Determinants in Rural China," Economics Series Working Papers 334, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  9. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
  10. Geeta G. Kingdon & John Knight, 2004. "Community, Comparisons and Subjective Well-being in a Divided Society," CSAE Working Paper Series 2004-21, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  11. World Bank, 2012. "World Development Indicators 2012," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6014.
  12. Anna Giraldo & Enrico Rettore & Ugo Trivellato, 2002. "The persistence of poverty: true state dependence or unobserved heterogeneity? Some evidence from the Italian Survey on Household Income and Wealth," 10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002 B2-1, International Conferences on Panel Data.
  13. Angus Deaton, 2010. "Price Indexes, Inequality, and the Measurement of World Poverty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 5-34, March.
  14. Sabina Alkire & Maria Emma Santos, 2010. "Acute Multidimensional Poverty: A New Index for Developing Countries," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2010-11, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  15. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1992. "Understanding welfare stigma: Taxpayer resentment and statistical discrimination," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 165-183, July.
  16. McBride, Michael, 2001. "Relative-income effects on subjective well-being in the cross-section," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 251-278, July.
  17. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2006. "Some Uses of Happiness Data in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-46, Winter.
  18. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
  19. Ravallion, Martin, 1991. "Reaching the Rural Poor through Public Employment: Arguments, Evidence, and Lessons from South Asia," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 6(2), pages 153-75, July.
  20. Bigsten, Arne & Shimeles, Abebe, 2008. "Poverty Transition and Persistence in Ethiopia: 1994-2004," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 1559-1584, September.
  21. Guglielmo Maria Caporale & Yannis Georgellis & Nicholas Tsitsianis & Ya Ping Yin, 2007. "Income and Happiness across Europe: Do Reference Values Matter?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2146, CESifo Group Munich.
  22. Christiaensen , Luc & Pan, Lei, 2012. "On the fungibility of spending and earnings -- evidence from rural China and Tanzania," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6298, The World Bank.
  23. Martin Biewen, 2009. "Measuring state dependence in individual poverty histories when there is feedback to employment status and household composition," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(7), pages 1095-1116.
  24. Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley & Gugliemo Weber, 2002. "Asking Consumption Questions in General Purpose Surveys," CAM Working Papers 2002-05, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  25. Ravallion, M., 1998. "Poverty Lines in Theory and Practice," Papers 133, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
  26. Duncan, Greg J, et al, 1993. "Poverty Dynamics in Eight Countries," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 215-34.
  27. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger, 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
  28. Ravallion, Martin & Bidani, Benu, 1993. "How robust is a poverty profile?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1223, The World Bank.
  29. repec:oup:qjecon:v:120:y:2005:i:3:p:963-1002 is not listed on IDEAS
  30. Loening, Josef L. & Durevall, Dick & Ayalew Birru, Yohannes, 2009. "Inflation Dynamics and Food Prices in an Agricultural Economy: The Case of Ethiopia," Working Papers in Economics 347, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  31. Alem, Yonas, 2013. "Poverty Persistence and Intra-Household Heterogeneity in Occupations: Evidence from Urban Ethiopia," Working Papers in Economics 580, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  32. Van Praag, Bernard M. S. & Kapteyn, Arie, 1973. "Further evidence on the individual welfare function of income: An empirical investigatiion in The Netherlands," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 33-62, April.
  33. Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Appraising Workfare," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 31-48, February.
  34. Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
  35. Alem, Yonas & Söderbom, Måns, 2012. "Household-Level Consumption in Urban Ethiopia: The Effects of a Large Food Price Shock," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 146-162.
  36. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon & John Knight, 2006. "Subjective well-being poverty vs. Income poverty and capabilities poverty?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(7), pages 1199-1224.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:56:y:2014:i:c:p:51-61. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.