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Measuring progress towards global poverty goals: Challenges and lessons from southern Africa


  • Levine, Sebastian


This paper draws on the work in Lesotho and Namibia of tracking progress towards cutting poverty in half by 2015, which is the key poverty target of the Millennium Development Goals. The paper serves at least two purposes. Firstly, it outlines the steps and methodological considerations involved in selecting appropriate national indicators and targets for measuring income poverty using household surveys and poverty lines based on observed consumption patterns. Secondly, it highlights some practical lessons and challenges for policy makers in southern Africa when they attempt to access and analyse poverty data under less than ideal circumstances.

Suggested Citation

  • Levine, Sebastian, 2006. "Measuring progress towards global poverty goals: Challenges and lessons from southern Africa," MPRA Paper 4932, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Nov 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:4932

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-766, May.
    2. 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.
    3. Ravallion, M., 1992. "Poverty Comparisons - A Guide to Concepts and Methods," Papers 88, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
    4. Howard White, 1999. "Global poverty reduction: are we heading in the right direction?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(4), pages 503-519.
    5. Ravallion, M., 1998. "Poverty Lines in Theory and Practice," Papers 133, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
    6. Julian May & Benjamin Roberts, 2005. "Poverty Diagnostics Using Poor Data: Strengthening the Evidence Base for Pro-Poor Policy Making in Lesotho," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 74(3), pages 477-510, December.
    7. Jan Vandemoortele, 2005. "Ambition is Golden: Meeting the MDGs," Development, Palgrave Macmillan;Society for International Deveopment, vol. 48(1), pages 5-11, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Morten Jerven, 2013. "Comparability of GDP estimates in Sub-Saharan Africa: The effect of Revisions in Sources and Methods Since Structural Adjustment," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 59, pages 16-36, October.

    More about this item


    Income poverty; poverty line; household budget survey; Millennium Development Goals; Lesotho; Namibia;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • O21 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Planning Models; Planning Policy

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