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Is it Possible to Avoid a Lemon? Reflections on Choosing a Poverty Mapping Method

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  • Benjamin Davis

Abstract

Poverty and food security in most countries are highly heterogeneous phenomena, making it common to find wide spatial variability. Both types and depth of poverty, measured in a variety of ways, vary between and within countries, regions or other geographic and administrative units. Spatial heterogeneity can develop for a variety of reasons, including differences in geography, history, ethnicity, and access to markets and public services, infrastructure, and other facets of public policy (see, for example, Bloom and Sachs, 1998, Jalan and Ravallion, 2000, or de Janvry and Sadoulet, 1997). Heterogeneity in poverty and food security is often hard to measure correctly, however, with conventional analytical tools. The key problem is obtaining data which permits the measurement of poverty and food security at a level of disaggregation sufficient to capture the heterogeneity brought on by spatial variability. The concept of mapping involves measuring the incidence of poverty and food security by some predetermined area. While the term “poverty” mapping has become ubiquitous in research and policy circles, an almost unlimited variety of poverty and food security indicators can be mapped with the methods described in this paper. Although poverty and food security are not necessarily the same concept, the terms are used interchangeably in this paper since here the focus is on methods, not specific indicators.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin Davis, 2002. "Is it Possible to Avoid a Lemon? Reflections on Choosing a Poverty Mapping Method," Working Papers in Food Policy and Nutrition 08, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:fsn:wpaper:08
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    File URL: http://www.nutrition.tufts.edu/documents/fpan/wp08-poverty_mapping.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Minot, Nicholas, 2000. "Generating Disaggregated Poverty Maps: An Application to Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 319-331, February.
    2. Glewwe, P. & Van Der Gaag, J., 1988. "Confronting Poverty In Developing Countries -," Papers 48, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
    3. Chris Elbers & Jean O. Lanjouw & Peter Lanjouw, 2003. "Micro--Level Estimation of Poverty and Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 355-364, January.
    4. Hentschel, Jesko, et al, 2000. "Combining Census and Survey Data to Trace the Spatial Dimensions of Poverty: A Case Study of Ecuador," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 147-165, January.
    5. David E. Bloom & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1998. "Geography, Demography, and Economic Growth in Africa," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 207-296.
    6. Maxwell, Simon, 1996. "Food security: a post-modern perspective," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 155-170, May.
    7. Minot, Nicholas & Baulch, Bob, 2002. "The spatial distribution of poverty in Vietnam and the potential for targeting," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2829, The World Bank.
    8. Maxwell, Daniel G., 1996. "Measuring food insecurity: the frequency and severity of "coping strategies"," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 291-303, July.
    9. Ravallion, M., 1992. "Poverty Comparisons - A Guide to Concepts and Methods," Papers 88, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
    10. Jyotsna Jalan & Martin Ravallion, 1998. "Geographic Poverty Traps?," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 86, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
    11. David Bigman & Stefan Dercon & Dominique Guillaume & Michel Lambotte, 1999. "Community Targeting for Poverty Reduction in Burkina Faso," Working Papers Department of Economics ces9910, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
    12. Hentschel, Jesko & Lanjouw, Jean Olson & Lanjouw, Peter & Poggi, Javier, 1998. "Combining census and survey data to study spatial dimensions of poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1928, The World Bank.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    poverty;

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O29 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Other

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