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Vague language and precise measurement: the case of poverty

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  • Mozaffar Qizilbash

Abstract

Economists have often attempted precise measurement of phenomena which involve vague predicates. Difficulties emerge in such attempts if vagueness is not explicitly acknowledged at the methodological level. In this paper, various accounts of vague concepts are used to think about the economics of poverty measurement. Approaches to dealing with vagueness in this context tend to involve 'epistemic' and 'fuzzy set theoretic' approaches. Indeed, only the fuzzy set theoretic literature takes on vagueness explicitly. It is argued that both these approaches encounter significant difficulties, and that fuzzy set theoretic measures are hard to interpret intuitively. A 'supervaluationist' approach to the vagueness of poverty is developed. It is argued that this approach has much to recommend it and that some fuzzy measures can be interpreted intuitively as measures of vulnerability on this account.

Suggested Citation

  • Mozaffar Qizilbash, 2001. "Vague language and precise measurement: the case of poverty," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(1), pages 41-58.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:10:y:2001:i:1:p:41-58
    DOI: 10.1080/1350178032000042059
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Mozaffar Qizilbash, 2002. "A note on the measurement of poverty and vulnerability in the South African context," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(6), pages 757-772.
    2. Pi Alperin, Maria Noel, 2008. "A comparison of multidimensional deprivation characteristics between natives and immigrants in Luxembourg," IRISS Working Paper Series 2008-14, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
    3. Eglantina HYSA, 2011. "Corruption and Human Development Correlation in Western Balkan Countries," EuroEconomica, Danubius University of Galati, issue 30, pages 148-157, November.
    4. Udaya Wagle, 2009. "Capability Deprivation and Income Poverty in the United States, 1994 and 2004: Measurement Outcomes and Demographic Profiles," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 94(3), pages 509-533, December.
    5. Mozaffar Qizilbash, 2004. "On the Arbitrariness and Robustness of Multi-Dimensional Poverty Rankings," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 355-375.
    6. Belhadj, Besma & Limam, Mohamed, 2012. "Unidimensional and multidimensional fuzzy poverty measures: New approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 995-1002.
    7. PI ALPERIN Maria Noel & BERZOSA Guayarmina, 2011. "A fuzzy logic approach to measure overweight," LISER Working Paper Series 2011-55, LISER.
    8. Vivien Kana Zeumo & Blaise Some & Alexis Tsoukiàs, 2011. "A survey on Multidimensional Poverty Measurement: a Decision Aiding Perspective," Working Papers hal-00875525, HAL.
    9. David Hulme, 2013. "Poverty and development thinking:synthesis or uneasy compromise?," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 18013, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    10. Leßmann, Ortrud, 2011. "Empirische Studien zum Capability Ansatz auf der Grundlage von Befragungen: Ein Überblick," UFZ Discussion Papers 4/2011, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
    11. Chiappero-Martinetti, Enrica & Moroni, Stefano, 2007. "An analytical framework for conceptualizing poverty and re-examining the capability approach," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 360-375, June.
    12. Bocquier, Philippe & Nordman, Christophe J. & Vescovo, Aude, 2010. "Employment Vulnerability and Earnings in Urban West Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 1297-1314, September.
    13. David A. Clark, 2005. "Core Poverty, Basic Capabilities and Vagueness: An Application to the South African Context," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-026, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    14. María Noel Pi Alperin, 2009. "The impact of Argentina's social assistance program plan jefes y jefas de hogar on structural poverty," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 0(Special i), pages 49-81.
    15. Botti, Fabrizio & D'Ippoliti, Carlo, 2012. "Sexual orientation and social exclusion in Italy," MPRA Paper 39246, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. K. Pushpangadan & G.Murugan, 2008. "Dynamics of rural water supply in coastal Kerala: A Sustainable development view," Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum Working Papers 402, Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum, India.
    17. Bromley, Daniel W., 2007. "Environmental regulations and the problem of sustainability: Moving beyond "market failure"," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 676-683, September.
    18. repec:dau:papers:123456789/4294 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Kojo Appiah-Kubi & Edward Amanning-Ampomah & Christian Ahortor, 2007. "Multi-Dimensional Analysis of Poverty in Ghana Using Fuzzy Sets Theory," Working Papers PMMA 2007-21, PEP-PMMA.

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