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Epistemology, Normative Theory and Poverty Analysis:Implications for Q-Squared in Practice


  • Kanbur, Ravi
  • Shaffer, Paul


The turn to the use of mixed qualitative and quantitative (Q-Squared) methods in the analysis of poverty is a welcome development with large potential payoffs. While the benefits of mixing are not in doubt, the tensions involved in so doing have not received adequate attention. The aim of this paper is to address this gap in the “Q-Squared” literature. It argues that there are important differences between approaches to poverty which operate at the levels of epistemology and normative theory. These differences have implications for the numerical transformation of data, the selection of validity criteria, and the conception/dimension of poverty adopted and interpersonal comparisons of well-being.

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  • Kanbur, Ravi & Shaffer, Paul, 2006. "Epistemology, Normative Theory and Poverty Analysis:Implications for Q-Squared in Practice," Working Papers 127034, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:cudawp:127034

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Harriss, John, 2002. "The Case for Cross-Disciplinary Approaches in International Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 487-496, March.
    2. Philippa Bevan & Sandra Fullerton Joireman, 1997. "The perils of measuring poverty: Identifying the 'poor' in rural Ethiopia," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(3), pages 315-343.
    3. 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.
    4. Ravallion, Martin, 1996. "Issues in Measuring and Modelling Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1328-1343, September.
    5. Shaffer, Paul, 1998. "Gender, poverty and deprivation: Evidence from the Republic of Guinea," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(12), pages 2119-2135, December.
    6. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2003. "On the utility consistency of poverty lines," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3157, The World Bank.
    7. Lipton, Michael, 1992. "Economics and anthropology: Grounding models in relationships," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(10), pages 1541-1546, October.
    8. White, Howard, 2002. "Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches in Poverty Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 511-522, March.
    9. Howard White, 2005. "Combining the Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches to Poverty Measurement and Analysis," Development and Comp Systems 0505003, EconWPA.
    10. Samuelson, Paul A, 1974. "Complementarity-An Essay on the 40th Anniversary of the Hicks-Allen Revolution in Demand Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 1255-1289, December.
    11. Paul Shaffer, 2002. "Poverty Naturalized: Implications for Gender," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(3), pages 55-75.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lucia da Corta (QEH), "undated". "The Political Economy of Agrarian Change: Dinosaur or Phoenix?," QEH Working Papers qehwps174, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
    2. Radeny, Maren & van den Berg, Marrit & Schipper, Rob, 2012. "Rural Poverty Dynamics in Kenya: Structural Declines and Stochastic Escapes," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1577-1593.
    3. Solava Ibrahim, 2011. "Poverty, aspirations and wellbeing: afraid to aspire and unable to reach a better life – voices from Egypt," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 14111, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    4. Shaffer, Paul, 2013. "Ten Years of “Q-Squared”: Implications for Understanding and Explaining Poverty," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 269-285.
    5. Christine Valente, 2011. "Household Returns to Land Transfers in South Africa: A Q-squared Analysis," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(2), pages 354-376.
    6. repec:pal:eurjdr:v:29:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1057_s41287-016-0071-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Kanbur, Ravi, 2013. "Exposure and Dialogue Programs in the Training of Development Analysts and Practitioners," Working Papers 180097, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    8. Kanbur, Ravi, 2009. "Poverty and Distribution: Twenty Years Ago and Now," Working Papers 48918, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.


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