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Poverty measurement for a binational population


  • Anita Alves Pena

    (Department of Economics, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1771, USA)


Traditional poverty measures are inappropriate for migrant populations. Frequently cited poverty thresholds are calculated under assumptions that individuals and their families face only one set of prices annually. This study formulates (and contrasts to current thresholds) alternative measures for a population that spends substantial time in two (or more) countries. Specifically, weights are developed based on annual week allocations, income, family characteristics, and comparative price levels. As illustration, an example demonstrating how alternative thresholds can be generated for those whose annual work spans international boundaries is drawn from the Mexico-US migration context using survey data, official thresholds, and these weights. Despite caveats due to data limitations for the case study, illustrations should be of interest academically and to those involved in ground-level statistical calculations pertaining to demographic trends and the welfare state.

Suggested Citation

  • Anita Alves Pena, 2013. "Poverty measurement for a binational population," Migration Letters, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 10(2), pages 254-269, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:mig:journl:v:10:y:2013:i:2:p:254-269

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kandel, William, 2008. "Profile of Hired Farmworkers, A 2008 Update," Economic Research Report 56461, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    2. repec:pri:rpdevs:deaton_price_indexes_inequality_and_the_measurement_of_world_poverty_aer. is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:pri:rpdevs:presidential%20address%2017january%202010%20all.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Carvalho, S. & White, H., 1997. "Combining the Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches to Poverty Measurement and Analysis. The Practice and the Potential," Papers 366, World Bank - Technical Papers.
    5. Alberto Dávila & Marie T. Mora, 2008. "Changes In The Relative Earnings Gap Between Natives And Immigrants Along The U.S.-Mexico Border," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(3), pages 525-545.
    6. 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.
    7. Mattila, J. Peter & Davila, Alberto E., 1985. "Do Workers Earn Less Along the U.S.-Mexico Border?," Staff General Research Papers Archive 10848, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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