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Old Age Poverty In The Indian States:What Do The Household Data Tell Us?

  • Sarmistha Pal

    ()

  • Robert Palacios

In the absence of any official measures of old age poverty, this paper uses National Sample Survey household-level data to investigate the extent and nature of living standards and incidence of poverty among elderly in sixteen major states in India. We construct both individual and household-level poverty indices for the elderly and examine the sensitivity of these poverty indices to different equivalence scales and size economies in consumption. Our analysis highlights the complex nature of old age poverty in the Indian states. While poverty estimates taking into account equivalence scale and size economies in consumption suggest that households with elderly members are less poor than others, the interpretation of this result is more complex.Further analysis suggests that the results are partly a function of differences in demographic composition of the households and a possible survivorship bias due to positive correlation between household incomes and life expectancy. After correcting for the possible sources of bias (including the survivorship bias), there is evidence that poverty is increased by the presence of older elderly (75 and above) in all states. Meanwhile, the conclusion that households with elderly aged sixty and above are less poor appears to be robust across most states.

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File URL: http://www.brunel.ac.uk/329/efwps/0616.pdf
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Paper provided by Economics and Finance Section, School of Social Sciences, Brunel University in its series Economics and Finance Discussion Papers with number 06-16.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: May 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bru:bruedp:06-16
Contact details of provider: Postal: Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH, UK

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  1. Deaton, A. & Paxson, C., 1997. "Economies of Scale, Household Size, and the Demand for Food," Papers 178, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  2. Dreze, Jean & Srinivasan, P. V., 1997. "Widowhood and poverty in rural India: Some inferences from household survey data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 217-234, December.
  3. Sugata Ghosh & Sarmistha Pal, 2003. "The effect of inequality on growth: Theory and evidence from the Indian states," Development and Comp Systems 0309006, EconWPA.
  4. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1995. "Measuring Poverty Among the Elderly," NBER Working Papers 5296, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Barrientos, Armando & Gorman, Mark & Heslop, Amanda, 2003. "Old Age Poverty in Developing Countries: Contributions and Dependence in Later Life," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 555-570, March.
  6. Hills, John, 2004. "Inequality and the State," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199276646, March.
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