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Gender and poverty

  • Quisumbing, Agnes R.
  • Haddad, Lawrence James
  • Peña, Christine

This paper presents new evidence on the association between gender and poverty based on an empirical analysis of 11 data sets from 10 developing countries. The paper computes income- and expenditure-based poverty measures and investigates their sensitivity to the use of per capita and per adult equivalent units. It also tests for differences in poverty incidence between individuals in male- and female-headed households using stochastic dominance analysis. Stochastic dominance analysis reveals that differences between male- and female-headed households among the very poor are not sufficiently large that one can conclude that one is unambiguously worse- or better-off, except for a few exceptions. When we use the method of endogenous bounds, persons in female-headed households in rural Ghana and Bangladesh are consistently worse-off, using two stochastic dominance criteria. These results suggest that, among the very poor, persons in male- and female-headed households may not differ significantly. The consistent and significant exceptions, rural Ghana and Bangladesh, suggest that cultural and institutional factors may be responsible for higher poverty among women in these countries. Our results point to the need to analyze determinants of household income and consumption using multivariate methods, and to give greater attention to the processes underlying female headship.

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Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series FCND discussion papers with number 9.

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Date of creation: 1995
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:fcnddp:9
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  1. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1981. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Toward a Generalization of the Theory of Demand," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(2), pages 333-49, June.
  2. Marjorie B. McElroy, 1990. "The Empirical Content of Nash-Bargained Household Behavior," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 559-583.
  3. 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.
  4. Kakwani, Nanak, 1993. "Statistical Inference in the Measurement of Poverty," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(4), pages 632-39, November.
  5. Foster, James E & Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1988. "Poverty Orderings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 173-77, January.
  6. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  7. Ravallion, M., 1992. "Poverty Comparisons - A Guide to Concepts and Methods," Papers 88, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
  8. Deaton, Angus S & Muellbauer, John, 1986. "On Measuring Child Costs: With Applications to Poor Countries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 720-44, August.
  9. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
  10. Hadar, Josef & Russell, William R, 1969. "Rules for Ordering Uncertain Prospects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(1), pages 25-34, March.
  11. Schultz, T.P., 1993. "Marital Status and Fertility in the United States: Welfare and Labor Market Effects," Papers 703, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
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