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Poverty Among Women In Latin America: Feminization Or Over-Representation?


  • Marcelo Medeiros
  • Joana Simões Costa


We discuss four different concepts of feminization of poverty and analyze household survey data to verify if there is an undergoing feminization of poverty in eight Latin American countries, according to each of these concepts. We also verify if our results are sensible to changes in values of poverty lines and to different scenarios of intra- household inequalities. We conclude that women may be over-represented among the poor but there is no clear evidence of a recent and widespread feminization of poverty in the Latin American countries studied. The implication of this conclusion for policymaking in the region is that issues such as achieving the economic autonomy of women are perhaps more important to the egalitarian agenda than the feminization of poverty.

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  • Marcelo Medeiros & Joana Simões Costa, 2005. "Poverty Among Women In Latin America: Feminization Or Over-Representation?," Anais do XXXIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 33th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 150, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
  • Handle: RePEc:anp:en2005:150

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    1. Haddad, Lawrence & Kanbur, Ravi, 1990. "How Serious Is the Neglect of Intra-Household Inequality?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(402), pages 866-881, September.
    2. Findlay, Jeanette & Wright, Robert E, 1996. "Gender, Poverty and the Intra-household Distribution of Resources," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 42(3), pages 335-351, September.
    3. Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Maluccio, John A., 2000. "Intrahousehold allocation and gender relations," FCND discussion papers 84, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Martin D. Dooley, 1994. "Women, Children and Poverty in Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 20(4), pages 430-443, December.
    5. Lipton, Michael & Ravallion, Martin, 1995. "Poverty and policy," Handbook of Development Economics,in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 41, pages 2551-2657 Elsevier.
    6. Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Haddad, Lawrence James & Peña, Christine, 1995. "Gender and poverty," FCND discussion papers 9, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Fuwa, Nobuhiko, 2000. "The Poverty and Heterogeneity Among Female-Headed Households Revisited: The Case of Panama," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(8), pages 1515-1542, August.
    8. Wright, Robert E, 1992. "A Feminisation of Poverty in Great Britain?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 38(1), pages 17-25, March.
    9. Dasgupta, Indraneel, 2001. "Gender-biased redistribution and intra-household distribution," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 1711-1722, October.
    10. Chant, Sylvia, 2003. "New contributions to the analysis of poverty: methodological and conceptual challenges to understanding poverty from a gender perspective," Asuntos de Género 47, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
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    Cited by:

    1. Gindling, T. H. & Oviedo, Luis, 2008. "Single Mothers and Poverty in Costa Rica," IZA Discussion Papers 3286, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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