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The Foster-Greer-Thorbecke (FGT) Poverty Measures: Twenty-Five Years Later

  • James E. Foster


    (Institute for International Economic Policy, George Washington University)

  • Joel Greer

    (Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)

  • Erik Thorbecke


    (Department of Economics and Divinsion of Nutirtional Services, Cornell University)

Twenty-five years ago, the FGT class of decomposable poverty measures was introduced in Foster, Greer, and Thorbecke [54]. The present study provides a retrospective view of the FGT paper and the subsequent literature, as well as a brief discussion of future directions. We identify three categories of contributions: to measurement, to axiomatics, and to application. A representative subset of the literature generated by the FGT methodology is discussed and grouped according to this taxonomy. We show how the FGT paper has played a central role in several thriving literatures and has contributed to the design, implementation, and evaluation of prominent development programs: the breadth of its impact is evidenced by the many topics beyond poverty to which its methodology has been applied. We conclude with a selection of prospective research topics.

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Paper provided by The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy in its series Working Papers with number 2010-14.

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Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic Inequality, Vol 8, No. 4
Handle: RePEc:gwi:wpaper:2010-14
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