Poverty among children and the elderly in developing countries
This paper is concerned with the measurement of the relative poverty of people in different age groups in developing countries. In many instances it is useful to know, for example, whether a higher fraction of children are in poverty than are adults. However, it is difficult to make even simple poverty comparisons of this sort. A perennial difficulty is the passage from household data to individual welfare. We need to document the poverty and living standards of individuals, not households. Yet almost all of our data come from household surveys that collect data on the incomes or consumption expenditures of households or families. Although more could be done to collect data on individual income, consumption, and intrahousehold transfers, there are both conceptual and practical problems in directly observing individual levels of living. Many goods are pooled so that it is close to impossible to disentangle individual consumption levels, and there are important family public goods where consumption by one person does not exclude, or only partially excludes consumption by another.
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