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Monitoring Poverty without Consumption Data: An application using the Albania panel survey

  • Carlo Azzarri
  • Gero Carletto

    (Agricultural and Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization)

  • Benjamin Davis

    (Agricultural and Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization)

  • Alberto Zezza

    (Agricultural and Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization)

In developing countries poverty is generally measured with expenditure data. Such data are difficult and costly to obtain and it is generally recommended to collect them every 3-5 years. In between surveys, however, there is a clear need to provide policymakers with information for the monitoring of poverty trends. The paper reviews several such methods and compares the poverty estimates and trends resulting from their application to a panel dataset for Albania. The results are broadly consistent across methods and point to an overall improvement in welfare conditions over time, although the magnitude of the changes differs by locale, with urban areas showing a larger improvement than their rural counterparts. However, given the sensitivity of the predictions to model specification, it is worthwhile to construct alternative welfare indicators and triangulate results. Lacking a gold standard measure, the use of a suite of welfare indicators, if duly validated, could be a viable approach to monitor poverty trends; some caution should be exercised in drawing conclusions about the actual magnitudes of the changes.

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Paper provided by Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA) in its series Working Papers with number 05-01.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fao:wpaper:0501
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  1. Bidani, Benu & Ravallion, Martin, 1997. "Decomposing social indicators using distributional data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 125-139, March.
  2. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2000. "Identifying welfare effects from subjective questions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2301, The World Bank.
  3. Ravallion, Martin, 1996. "How Well Can Method Substitute for Data? Five Experiments in Poverty Analysis," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 199-221, August.
  4. David E. Sahn & David Stifel, 2003. "Exploring Alternative Measures of Welfare in the Absence of Expenditure Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 49(4), pages 463-489, December.
  5. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2002. "Self-rated economic welfare in Russia," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1453-1473, September.
  6. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
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