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Understanding Poverty among the Elderly in India: Implications for Social Pension Policy

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  • Pal, Sarmistha

    () (University of Surrey)

  • Palacios, Robert

    () (World Bank)

Abstract

The Government of India is implementing a new policy which dramatically increases funding for a cash transfer program targeted to the poor elderly. The expansion of this ‘social pension’ in terms of coverage and benefit levels is taking place with little understanding of poverty among India’s elderly or its determinants. This paper finds that households with elderly members do not have higher poverty rates than non-elderly households. This result is robust under various measures that take into account the size and composition of households. Separate evidence suggests that part of the explanation for this phenomenon is that the poor have higher mortality rates and are therefore underrepresented. This explanation has important implications for social pension policy and suggests that programs that reduce elderly mortality may actually increase the relative poverty levels of the elderly.

Suggested Citation

  • Pal, Sarmistha & Palacios, Robert, 2008. "Understanding Poverty among the Elderly in India: Implications for Social Pension Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 3431, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3431
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    1. Kakwani, Nanak & Subbarao, Kalanidhi, 2005. "Aging and poverty in Africa and the role of social pensions," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 32752, The World Bank.
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    12. Sugata Ghosh & Sarmistha Pal, 2004. "The Effect of Inequality on Growth: Theory and Evidence from the Indian States," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(1), pages 164-177, February.
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    16. Sarmistha Pal & Robert Palacios, 2005. "Old Age Poverty In The Indian States: What The Household Data Can Say?," Labor and Demography 0505015, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kaushal, Neeraj, 2014. "How Public Pension affects Elderly Labor Supply and Well-being: Evidence from India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 214-225.
    2. Akanksha Srivastava & Sanjay Mohanty, 2012. "Poverty Among Elderly in India," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 109(3), pages 493-514, December.
    3. Ilke Onur & Malathi Velamuri, 2016. "A Life Course Perspective on Gender Differences in Cognitive Functioning in India," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(4), pages 520-563.
    4. repec:eee:joecag:v:9:y:2017:i:c:p:30-40 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Manoj K. Pandey, 2009. "On Ageing, Health and Poverty in Rural India," ASARC Working Papers 2009-14, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
    6. Rajan, Irudaya., 2010. "Demographic ageing and employment in India," ILO Working Papers 994553253402676, International Labour Organization.
    7. repec:ilo:ilowps:455325 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Javier Olivera & Jhonatan Clausen, 2014. "Las características del adulto mayor peruano y las políticas de protección social," Revista Economía, Fondo Editorial - Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, vol. 37(73), pages 75-113.
    9. Manoj K. Pandey, 2013. "Elderly's Health Shocks and Household's Ex-ante Poverty in India," ASARC Working Papers 2013-01, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
    10. Pandey, Manoj K., 2009. "Poverty and disability among elderly in India: evidences from household survey," MPRA Paper 15580, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Sanjay Mohanty & Rajesh Chauhan & Sumit Mazumdar & Akanksha Srivastava, 2014. "Out-of-pocket Expenditure on Health Care Among Elderly and Non-elderly Households in India," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 115(3), pages 1137-1157, February.
    12. P. Arokiasamy & David E. Bloom & Jinkook Lee & Kevin Feeney & Marija Ozolins, 2011. "Longitudinal Aging Study in India: Vision, Design, Implementation, and Some Early Results," PGDA Working Papers 8211, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
    13. Pandey, Manoj K., 2009. "On ageing, health and poverty in rural India," MPRA Paper 15932, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Manoj K. Pandey, 2009. "Poverty and Disability among Indian Elderly: Evidence from Household Survey," ASARC Working Papers 2009-09, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    household demographic composition; adjusted poverty indices; elderly contribution; old age poverty; survivorship bias;

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