IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Global Poverty Estimates; A Sensitivity Analysis


  • Camelia Minoiu
  • Shatakshee Dhongde


Current estimates of global poverty vary substantially across studies. In this paper we undertake a novel sensitivity analysis to highlight the importance of methodological choices in estimating global poverty. We measure global poverty using different data sources, parametric and nonparametric estimation methods, and multiple poverty lines. Our results indicate that estimates of global poverty vary significantly when they are based alternately on data from household surveys versus national accounts but are relatively consistent across different estimation methods. The decline in poverty over the past decade is found to be robust across methodological choices.

Suggested Citation

  • Camelia Minoiu & Shatakshee Dhongde, 2011. "Global Poverty Estimates; A Sensitivity Analysis," IMF Working Papers 11/234, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:11/234

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Villasenor, JoseA. & Arnold, Barry C., 1989. "Elliptical Lorenz curves," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 327-338, February.
    2. Ahluwalia, Montek S. & Carter, Nicholas G. & Chenery, Hollis B., 1979. "Growth and poverty in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 299-341, August.
    3. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 1997. "What Can New Survey Data Tell Us about Recent Changes in Distribution and Poverty?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 357-382, May.
    4. Angus Deaton, 2005. "Measuring Poverty in a Growing World (or Measuring Growth in a Poor World)," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 1-19, February.
    5. Angus Deaton, 2008. "Income, Health, and Well-Being around the World: Evidence from the Gallup World Poll," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 53-72, Spring.
    6. Miguel Szekely & Nora Lustig & Martin Cumpa & Jose Antonio Mejia, 2004. "Do we know how much poverty there is?," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(4), pages 523-558.
    7. Shaohua Chen & Martin Ravallion, 2013. "More Relatively-Poor People in a Less Absolutely-Poor World," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 59(1), pages 1-28, March.
    8. Shatakshee Dhongde & Camelia Minoiu, 2010. "Global poverty estimates: Present and future," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 13310, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    9. Angus Deaton, 2005. "ERRATUM: Measuring Poverty in a Growing World (or Measuring Growth in a Poor World)," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 395-395, May.
    10. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-766, May.
    11. Camelia Minoiu & Sanjay Reddy, 2008. "Kernel Density Estimation Based on Grouped Data; The Case of Poverty Assessment," IMF Working Papers 08/183, International Monetary Fund.
    12. Chen, Shaohua & Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "How Did the World's Poorest Fare in the 1990s?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 47(3), pages 283-300, September.
    13. Ravallion, Martin, 1996. "Issues in Measuring and Modelling Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1328-1343, September.
    14. Martin Ravallion & Shaohua Chen, 2011. "Weakly Relative Poverty," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 1251-1261, November.
    15. Mistiaen, Johan A. & Ravallion, Martin, 2003. "Survey compliance and the distribution of income," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2956, The World Bank.
    16. Surjit Bhalla, 2002. "Imagine There's No Country: Poverty, Inequality, and Growth in the Era of Globalization," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 348.
    17. Chen, Shaohua & Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1994. "Is Poverty Increasing in the Developing World?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 40(4), pages 359-376, December.
    18. Angus Deaton, 2010. "Price Indexes, Inequality, and the Measurement of World Poverty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 5-34, March.
    19. Shaohua Chen & Martin Ravallion, 2010. "The Developing World is Poorer than We Thought, But No Less Successful in the Fight Against Poverty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1577-1625.
    20. Martin Ravallion, 2003. "Measuring Aggregate Welfare in Developing Countries: How Well Do National Accounts and Surveys Agree?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 645-652, August.
    21. Stephan Klasen, 2009. "Levels and Trends in Absolute Poverty in the World: What we know and what we don’t," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 11, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    22. Martin Ravallion & Shaohua Chen & Prem Sangraula, 2009. "Dollar a Day Revisited," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 23(2), pages 163-184, June.
    23. François Bourguignon, 2005. "Comment on "Measuring Poverty in a Growing World (or Measuring Growth in a Poor World)" by Angus Deaton," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 20-22, February.
    24. Angus Deaton & Olivier Dupriez, 2011. "Purchasing Power Parity Exchange Rates for the Global Poor," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 137-166, April.
    25. Kakwani, Nanak, 1980. "On a Class of Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(2), pages 437-446, March.
    26. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2006. "The World Distribution of Income: Falling Poverty and … Convergence, Period," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 351-397.
    27. Singh, S K & Maddala, G S, 1976. "A Function for Size Distribution of Incomes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(5), pages 963-970, September.
    28. Shaohua Chen & Martin Ravallion, 2004. "How Have the World's Poorest Fared since the Early 1980s?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 19(2), pages 141-169.
    29. Undp, 2010. "HDR 2010 - The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development," Human Development Report (1990 to present), Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), number hdr2010, December.
    30. Lynge Nielsen, 2009. "Global Relative Poverty," IMF Working Papers 09/93, International Monetary Fund.
    31. Angus Deaton, 2003. "Household Surveys, Consumption, and the Measurement of Poverty," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(2), pages 135-159.
    32. repec:pri:rpdevs:presidential%20address%2017january%202010%20all is not listed on IDEAS
    33. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-231, March.
    34. Anton Korinek & Johan Mistiaen & Martin Ravallion, 2006. "Survey nonresponse and the distribution of income," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 4(1), pages 33-55, April.
    35. Florent Bresson, 2009. "On The Estimation Of Growth And Inequality Elasticities Of Poverty With Grouped Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(2), pages 266-302, June.
    36. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav & van de Walle, Dominique, 1991. "Quantifying Absolute Poverty in the Developing World," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(4), pages 345-361, December.
    37. Ben Jann, 2005. "KDENS: Stata module for univariate kernel density estimation," Statistical Software Components S456410, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 26 May 2008.
    38. Maxim Pinkovskiy & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2009. "Parametric Estimations of the World Distribution of Income," NBER Working Papers 15433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    39. Angus Deaton & Valerie Kozel, 2005. "Data and Dogma: The Great Indian Poverty Debate," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 20(2), pages 177-199.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Stein, Alexander J., 2013. "Rethinking the measurement of undernutrition in a broader health context: Should we look at possible causes or actual effects:," IFPRI discussion papers 1298, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Crombrugghe, D.P.I. de & Szirmai, A. & Bluhm, R., 2014. "Poor trends: The pace of poverty reduction after the Millennium Development Agenda," MERIT Working Papers 006, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    3. Alkire, Sabina & Santos, Maria Emma, 2014. "Measuring Acute Poverty in the Developing World: Robustness and Scope of the Multidimensional Poverty Index," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 251-274.
    4. Yoshida, Nobuo & Uematsu, Hiroki & Sobrado, Carlos E., 2014. "Is extreme poverty going to end ? an analytical framework to evaluate progress in ending extreme poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6740, The World Bank.
    5. Armando Barrientos, 2016. "Inequality, Poverty, and Antipoverty Transfers," Working Papers id:11190, eSocialSciences.
    6. Edward, Peter & Sumner, Andy, 2014. "Estimating the Scale and Geography of Global Poverty Now and in the Future: How Much Difference Do Method and Assumptions Make?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 67-82.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:11/234. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jim Beardow) or (Hassan Zaidi). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.