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

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  • Sarmistha Pal

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  • Robert Palacios

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Sarmistha Pal & Robert Palacios, 2006. "Old Age Poverty In The Indian States:What Do The Household Data Tell Us?," Economics and Finance Discussion Papers 06-16, Economics and Finance Section, School of Social Sciences, Brunel University.
  • Handle: RePEc:bru:bruedp:06-16
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    File URL: http://www.brunel.ac.uk/329/efwps/0616.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sugata Ghosh & Sarmistha Pal, 2004. "The Effect of Inequality on Growth: Theory and Evidence from the Indian States," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(1), pages 164-177, February.
    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. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1998. "Economies of Scale, Household Size, and the Demand for Food," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 897-930, October.
    4. Hills, John, 2004. "Inequality and the State," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199276646.
    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. Angus S. Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1998. "Measuring Poverty among the Elderly," NBER Chapters,in: Inquiries in the Economics of Aging, pages 169-204 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. D Rajasekhar & Santosh Kesavan & R Manjula, 2017. "Contributory Pension Schemes for the Poor: Issues and Ways Forward," Working Papers id:12097, eSocialSciences.
    2. Rajasekhar, D. & Kesavan, Santosh & Manjula, R., 2016. "Contributory pension schemes for the poor: Issues and ways forward," Working Papers 377, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore.
    3. Palacios, Robert & Sluchynsky, Oleksiy, 2006. "Social pensions Part I : their role in the overall pension system," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 36237, The World Bank.
    4. Bakshi, Sanjeev & Pathak, Prasanta, 2008. "A statistical analysis of various factors associated with selected health problems among older adults in India," MPRA Paper 40539, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Dutta, Puja Vasudeva & O'Keefe, Philip & Rashid, Mansoora, 2008. "The performance of social pensions in India : the case of Rajasthan," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 90347, The World Bank.

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