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Measurement of Low Incomes and Poverty in A Perspective of International Comparisons

Listed author(s):
  • Michael F. Förster

During the past two decades, issues such as insufficient resources among particular populations, relative and absolute low incomes and poverty have occupied a prominent place in social policy research in many OECD countries. However, many different concepts have been used in the literature to define and measure ’low income’ or ’poverty’ across and within Member countries. This paper analyses alternative approaches to quantifying these concepts for the explicit purpose of international comparisons. It uses micro data sets on income from the Luxembourg Income Study for 13 OECD countries, for the mid- to the end of the 1980s, to illustrate the issues. In Chapter II, the three main approaches used in the literature for defining low income and poverty - the absolute, relative and subjective approach - are discussed in detail. Chapter III discusses ways to adjust disposable income for family size and presents sensitivity tests using different equivalence scales. Chapter IV presents more ... Durant ces quelque vingt dernières années, des questions telles que l'insuffisance de ressources de certaines catégories de populations, les bas revenus relatifs ou absolus, et la pauvreté ont occupé une place importante dans la recherche en matière de politiques sociales. Or, il existe une vaste palette de concepts différents utilisés pour définir et mesurer 'bas revenus' et 'pauvreté' d'un pays de l'OCDE à l'autre. Cette étude analyse des approches susceptibles d'appréhender ces phénomènes dans un cadre de comparaison internationale. Pour ce faire, elle utilise des données micro-économiques sur les revenus de la "Luxembourg Income Study" pour treize pays Membres, couvrant la période du milieu jusqu'à la fin des années 80. Le chapitre II discute en détail les trois concepts principaux servant à définir les bas revenus et la pauvreté: les approches dites absolue, relative et subjective. Le chapitre III décrit différentes méthodes d'ajustement du revenu disponible selon la taille de ...

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers with number 14.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 1994
Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaaa:14-en
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