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Poverty Within Households: Measuring Gender Differences Using Nonmonetary Indicators

  • Sara Cantillon
  • Brian Nolan

Conventional methods of analysis of poverty assume resources are shared so that each individual in a household or family has the same standard of living. Nonmonetary indicators of living standards and deprivation are increasingly being used in measuring household poverty. This paper argues that such indicators can be used for a rather different purpose - the exploration of differences in living standards within households. It illustrates this by using indicators of deprivation of the type used in recent studies of poverty at household level to measure differences between spouses in a large Irish sample. It then discusses the limitations of these indicators for the purpose at hand and points to the need to develop more sensitive indicators of deprivation designed to measure individual living standards and poverty status, which can fit within the framework of traditional poverty research using large samples. While the discussion is specific to Ireland, the methodology developed is relevant outside the Irish context, in developing as well as developed countries.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Feminist Economics.

Volume (Year): 7 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 5-23

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Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:7:y:2001:i:1:p:5-23
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Nolan, Brian & Whelan, Christopher T., 1996. "Resources, Deprivation, and Poverty," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287858.
  2. McCloskey, Donald N, 1983. "The Rhetoric of Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 481-517, June.
  3. Mayer, Susan E, 1993. "Living Conditions among the Poor in Four Rich Countries," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 261-86.
  4. Haddad, L. & Kanbur, R., 1989. "How Serious Is The Neglectof Intra-Household Inequality?," Papers 450, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  5. Nolan, Brian, 1992. "Low Pay in Ireland," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number GRS159.
  6. Frances Woolley & Judith Marshall, 1992. "Measuring Inequality within the Household," Carleton Economic Papers 92-07, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised Dec 1994.
  7. Callan, Tim & Nolan, Brian & Whelan, Brendan J. & Hannan, Damian F. & Creighton, S., 1989. "Poverty, Income and Welfare in Ireland," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number GRS146.
  8. Sen, Amartya, 1979. " Issues in the Measurement of Poverty," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 81(2), pages 285-307.
  9. Lundberg, S.J. & Pollak, R.A. & Wales, T.J., 1994. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from U.K. Child Benefit," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 94-6, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  10. Paul Johnson & Steven Webb, 1989. "Counting people with low incomes: the impact of recent changes in official statistics," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 10(4), pages 66-82, November.
  11. Shelley Phipps & Peter Burton, 1995. "Social/institutional variables and behavior within households: An empirical test using the Luxembourg income study," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 151-174.
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