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Child poverty in Vietnam: using adult equivalence scales to estimate income-poverty for different age groups

  • White, Howard
  • Masset, Edoardo

Measurements of child poverty are commonly carried out using household expenditure data in per capita terms or adjusted by some standard parameter of economies of size. In this paper, we use adult equivalence scales and economies of scale coefficients estimated from the data to assess child poverty in Vietnam. By doing so, we show child poverty in Vietnam to be overestimated by conventional techniques. The commonly used technique for the estimation of adult equivalence scales contains an implicit household income distribution. Therefore, we used these techniques to estimate child poverty and patterns of resource allocation for different household groups. Better-off families (which are largely urban, more educated, female-headed and from the Khin ethnic majority) spend a lower share of their income on children than other household groups, though their children are still better off in absolute terms. A comparison of the data between 1992-93 and 1997-98 also reveals that children from better-off family groups have experienced a more rapid increase in welfare levels than children from other sectors of Vietnamese society during this period. The presence of gender discrimination in child treatment is also investigated. Rural and male headed households are those that more prominently appear as discriminating against female children. We found no clear relationship between gender discrimination and expenditure or between gender discrimination and level of education.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 777.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:777
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  1. Lancaster, Geoffrey & Ray, Ranjan & Valenzuela, Maria Rebecca, 1999. "A Cross-Country Study of Equivalence Scales and Expenditure Inequality on Unit Record Household Budget Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 45(4), pages 455-82, December.
  2. Sonia Bhalotra & Cliff Attfield, 1998. "Intrahousehold resource allocation in rural Pakistan: a semi-parametric analysis," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6679, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Muellbauer, John, 1977. "Testing the Barten Model of Household Composition Effects and the Cost of Children," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 87(347), pages 460-87, September.
  4. Deaton, Angus S & Ruiz-Castillo, Javier & Thomas, Duncan, 1989. "The Influence of Household Composition on Household Expenditure Patterns: Theory and Spanish Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 179-200, February.
  5. Gronau, Reuben, 1991. "The Intrafamily Allocation of Goods--How to Separate the Adult from the Child," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(3), pages 207-35, July.
  6. Nelson, Julie A, 1993. "Household Equivalence Scales: Theory versus Policy?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(3), pages 471-93, July.
  7. J. L. Nicholson, 1976. "Appraisal Of Different Methods Of Estimating Equivalence Scales And Their Results," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 22(1), pages 1-11, 03.
  8. Haughton, Dominique & Haughton, Jonathan, 1997. "Explaining Child Nutrition in Vietnam," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(3), pages 541-56, April.
  9. Ferreira, M Luisa & Buse, Reuben C & Chavas, Jean-Paul, 1998. "Is There Bias in Computing Household Equivalence Scales?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 44(2), pages 183-98, June.
  10. Deaton, Angus S & Muellbauer, John, 1986. "On Measuring Child Costs: With Applications to Poor Countries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 720-44, August.
  11. Pollak, Robert A & Wales, Terence J, 1979. "Welfare Comparisons and Equivalence Scales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 216-21, May.
  12. Lancaster, Geoffrey & Ray, Ranjan, 1998. "Comparison of Alternative Models of Household Equivalence Scales: The Australian Evidence on Unit Record Data," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 74(224), pages 1-14, March.
  13. Van Praag, Bernard M.S. & Warnaar, Marcel F., 1993. "The cost of children and the use of demographic variables in consumer demand," Handbook of Population and Family Economics, in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 241-273 Elsevier.
  14. Shelley A. Phipps, 1998. "What Is The Income "Cost Of A Child"? Exact Equivalence Scales For Canadian Two-Parent Families," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 157-164, February.
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