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Robust Multidimensional Spatial Poverty Comparisons in Ghana, Madagascar, and Uganda

  • Jean-Yves Duclos
  • David Sahn
  • Stephen D. Younger

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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Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 0528.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0528
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  1. Foster, James E. & Shorrocks, Anthony F., 1988. "Inequality and poverty orderings," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(2-3), pages 654-661, March.
  2. Shorrocks, Anthony F & Foster, James E, 1987. "Transfer Sensitive Inequality Measures," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 485-97, July.
  3. Duclos, Jean-Yves & Sahn, David & Younger, Stephen D., 2001. "Robust Multidimensional Poverty Comparisons," Cahiers de recherche 0115, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
  4. Davidson, R. & Duclos, J.-Y., 1998. "Statistical Inference for Stochastic Dominance and for the Measurement of Poverty and Inequality," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 98a14, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
  5. Atkinson, A B, 1987. "On the Measurement of Poverty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 749-64, July.
  6. Zheng, Buhong, 2000. " Poverty Orderings," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(4), pages 427-66, September.
  7. Duclos, Jean-Yves & Makdissi, Paul, 1999. "Sequential Stochastic Dominance and the Robustness of Poverty Orderings," Cahiers de recherche 9905, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
  8. Ian Crawford, 1999. "Nonparametric tests of stochastic dominance in bivariate distributions, with an application to UK data," IFS Working Papers W99/28, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  9. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
  10. A. Atkinson, 2003. "Multidimensional Deprivation: Contrasting Social Welfare and Counting Approaches," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 51-65, April.
  11. Atkinson, Anthony B & Bourguignon, Francois, 1982. "The Comparison of Multi-Dimensioned Distributions of Economic Status," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 183-201, April.
  12. Foster, James E & Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1988. "Poverty Orderings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 173-77, January.
  13. Pradhan, Menno & Sahn, David E. & Younger, Stephen D., 2003. "Decomposing world health inequality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 271-293, March.
  14. Kai-yuen Tsui, 2002. "Multidimensional poverty indices," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 69-93.
  15. Ravallion, Martin & Bidani, Benu, 1994. "How Robust Is a Poverty Profile?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 8(1), pages 75-102, January.
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