Robust Multidimensional Spatial Poverty Comparisons in Ghana, Madagascar, and Uganda
We investigate spatial poverty comparisons in three African countries using multidimensional indicators of well-being. The work is analogous to the univariate stochastic dominance literature in that we seek poverty orderings that are robust to the choice of multidimensional poverty lines and indices. In addition, we wish to ensure that our comparisons are robust to aggregation procedures for multiple welfare variables. In contrast to earlier work, our methodology applies equally well to what can be defined as "union", "intersection", or "intermediate" approaches to dealing with multidimensional indicators of well-being. Further, unlike much of the stochastic dominance literature, we compute the sampling distributions of our poverty estimators in order to perform statistical tests of the difference in poverty measures. We apply our methods to two measures of well-being, the log of household expenditures per capita and children's height-for-age z-scores, using data from the 1988 Ghana Living Standards Survey, the 1993 Enquêtes Permanente auprès des Ménages i Madagascar, and the 1999 National Household Survey in Uganda. Bivariate poverty comparisons are at odds with univariate comparisons in several interesting ways. Most importantly, we cannot always conclude that poverty is lower in urban areas from one region compared to rural areas in another, even though univariate comparisons based on household expenditures per capita almost always lead to that conclusion.
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