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Economists' fatal flaws

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  • Berkley, Matt

Abstract

...a prime aim of international development policy is to reduce the proportion of people in poverty. There is something wrong here. The proportion will fall faster if more poor people die earlier. The proportion is not an indicator of success of hungry people unless you know that survival rates are improving. Let us hope that the UN will recognize this as soon as possible. Let us also hope that social scientists will, in their outcome measures, count survival as a good outcome in itself rather than of no welfare value. Let us also hope that one day economists will recognize that income is not a measure of poverty unless the inflation rate for the poor is taken into account. There are other common flaws in economic research on poverty: such as failure to take into account a) that extra items of expenditure may be needed in cities, where more poor people now live, and b) that the ratio of adults to children is rising in many countries, and adults need more food. Together, the mortality flaw and the inflation flaw, in particular, may have contributed to the devising of policies which, though they made the statistics look better, made the condition of poor people worse.

Suggested Citation

  • Berkley, Matt, 2003. "Economists' fatal flaws," MPRA Paper 109061, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:109061
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/109061/1/MPRA_paper_109061.pdf
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    poverty; longevity; mortality; inequality; development economics; economic theory; inflation; United Nations; equivalence scale; theory of social science; research methods; macroeconomics; development economics; Millennium Development Goals; cross-sectional statistics; panel data; longitudinal statistics; inflation inequality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • A2 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics
    • B4 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O2 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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