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On measuring deprivation and living standards of societies in a multi-attribute framework

  • Prasanta K. Pattanaik
  • Sanjay G. Reddy
  • Yongsheng Xu

When measuring a society's deprivation in a multi-attribute framework, researchers often resort to what we call a 'column-first two-stage procedure'. Under such procedures one first determines the society's deprivation for each attribute separately by aggregating the individuals' deprivation levels in terms of that attribute, and then assesses the society's overall deprivation by aggregating the society's deprivation levels for different attributes. In this paper, we argue that all such procedures are seriously flawed insofar as none of them can satisfy simultaneously three highly appealing properties: (i) anonymity, which requires that the individuals be treated symmetrically; (ii) non-invariance, which reflects the sensitivity of the society's overall deprivation to certain switches of deprivation levels between individuals; and (iii) positive responsiveness, which requires that the society's overall deprivation must increase if the society's deprivation for some attribute increases without any decrease in the society's deprivation for any attribute. Copyright 2012 Oxford University Press 2011 All rights reserved, Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/oep/gpr034
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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Economic Papers.

Volume (Year): 64 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 43-56

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:64:y:2012:i:1:p:43-56
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