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Price indexes, inequality, and the measurement of world poverty

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  • Angus Deaton

    (Princeton University)

Abstract

I discuss the measurement of world poverty and inequality, with particular attention to the role of PPP price indexes from the International Comparison Project. Global inequality increased with the latest revision of the ICP, and this reduced the global poverty line relative to the US dollar. The recent large increase of nearly half a billion globally poor people came from an inappropriate updating of the global poverty line, not from the ICP revisions. Even so, PPP comparisons between widely different countries rest on weak theoretical and foundations. I argue for wider use of self-reports from international monitoring surveys, and for a global poverty line that is truly denominated in US dollars.

Suggested Citation

  • Angus Deaton, 2010. "Price indexes, inequality, and the measurement of world poverty," Working Papers 1207, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:rpdevs:deaton_price_indexes_inequality_and_the_measurement_of_world_poverty_aer.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Angus Deaton, 2008. "Income, Health, and Well-Being around the World: Evidence from the Gallup World Poll," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 53-72, Spring.
    2. François Bourguignon & Christian Morrisson, 2002. "Inequality Among World Citizens: 1820-1992," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 727-744, September.
    3. A. B. Atkinson, 2003. "Income Inequality in OECD Countries: Data and Explanations," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 49(4), pages 479-513.
    4. repec:pri:cheawb:deaton_income_health_and_wellbeing_around_the_world_evidence_%20from_gallup_world_poll_jep_spring2008 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Martin Ravallion & Gaurav Datt & Dominique van de Walle, 1991. "Quantifying Absolute Poverty In The Developing World," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(4), pages 345-361, December.
    6. Angus Deaton, 2005. "Measuring Poverty in a Growing World (or Measuring Growth in a Poor World)," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 1-19, February.
    7. Diewert, Erwin, 2008. "New Methodology for Linking the Regions," Economics working papers erwin_diewert-2008-9, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 09 Sep 2008.
    8. Angus Deaton, 2005. "ERRATUM: Measuring Poverty in a Growing World (or Measuring Growth in a Poor World)," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 395-395, May.
    9. Sen, Amartya, 1973. "On Economic Inequality," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198281931.
    10. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav & van de Walle, Dominique, 1991. "Quantifying Absolute Poverty in the Developing World," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(4), pages 345-361, December.
    11. Klaas de Vos & Thesia I. Garner, 1991. "An Evaluation Of Subjective Poverty Definitions: Comparing Results From The U.S. And The Netherlands," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(3), pages 267-285, September.
    12. repec:pri:cheawb:deaton_income_health_and_wellbeing_around_the_world_evidence_%20from_gallup_world_poll_jep_spring2008.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Maxim Pinkovskiy & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2009. "Parametric Estimations of the World Distribution of Income," NBER Working Papers 15433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
    15. de Vos, Klaas & Garner, Thesia I, 1991. "An Evaluation of Subjective Poverty Definitions: Comparing Results from the U.S. and the Netherlands," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(3), pages 267-285, September.
    16. Sudhir Anand & Paul Segal, 2008. "What Do We Know about Global Income Inequality?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 57-94, March.
    17. Theo Goedhart & Victor Halberstadt & Arie Kapteyn & Bernard van Praag, 1977. "The Poverty Line: Concept and Measurement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 12(4), pages 503-520.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    poverty measurement; price indexes; International Comparison Project;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C80 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - General
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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