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Geographic Decomposition of Inequality in Health and Wealth: Evidence from Cambodia


  • Tomoki Fujii

    () (School of Economics, Singapore Management University)


The small-area estimation developed by Elbers, Lanjouw and Lanjouw (2002, 2003), in which a census and a survey are combined to produce the estimates of welfare measures for small geographic areas, has become a standard tool for poverty analysis in developing countries. The small-area estimates are typically plotted on a map, which are commonly called a poverty map. Poverty maps proved useful for policy analysis and formulation, and have become increasingly popular among policy-makers and researchers. In Cambodia, poverty maps have been used by various international organizations, ministries and non-governmental organizations for analyzing the poverty situations for their operation areas, selecting the potential locations for their projects and programs, and educating students in classrooms (Fujii, 2007). Besides creating poverty maps, the small-area estimation has been used for a wide array of purposes. For example, it has been used to analyze geographic targeting (Elbers et al., 2007 and Fujii, 2008), consumption inequality (Elbers et al., 2004), local inequality and crime (Demombynes and zler, 2005), and impacts of trade liberalization (Fujii and Roland-Holst, 2008). In this paper, we offer another new application of the small-area estimation; We use the small-area estimation to look at whether poverty is more spatially unequally distributed than child undernutrition. More precisely, we decompose inequality of consumption and child nutrition status into the within-group and between-group inequalities at various levels of spatial aggregation, and compare the decomposition results. While it is widely known that the health and wealth are positively correlated, it is not clear whether the spatial inequality in health and wealth necessarily exhibits a similar pattern. The significance of this point can be easily understood in a simple example. Suppose that the wealthy people in a country only live in the north and poor people only in the south, and suppose further tha
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Suggested Citation

  • Tomoki Fujii, 2007. "Geographic Decomposition of Inequality in Health and Wealth: Evidence from Cambodia," Working Papers 24-2007, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:siu:wpaper:24-2007

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Angus Deaton, 2003. "Health, Inequality, and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 113-158, March.
    2. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-766, May.
    3. Chris Elbers & Peter F. Lanjouw & Johan A. Mistiaen & Berk Özler & Ken Simler, 2004. "On the Unequal Inequality of Poor Communities," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 18(3), pages 401-421.
    4. Chris Elbers & Peter Lanjouw & Johan Mistiaen & Berk Özler, 2008. "Reinterpreting between-group inequality," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 6(3), pages 231-245, September.
    5. Fujii, Tomoki, 2004. "Commune-Level Estimation of Poverty Measures and its Application in Cambodia," WIDER Working Paper Series 048, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1984. "Inequality Decomposition by Population Subgroups," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1369-1385, November.
    7. van Doorslaer, Eddy & Wagstaff, Adam & Bleichrodt, Han & Calonge, Samuel & Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Gerfin, Michael & Geurts, Jose & Gross, Lorna & Hakkinen, Unto & Leu, Robert E., 1997. "Income-related inequalities in health: some international comparisons," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 93-112, February.
    8. Elbers, Chris & Fujii, Tomoki & Lanjouw, Peter & Ozler, Berk & Yin, Wesley, 2007. "Poverty alleviation through geographic targeting: How much does disaggregation help?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 198-213, May.
    9. Pradhan, Menno & Sahn, David E. & Younger, Stephen D., 2003. "Decomposing world health inequality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 271-293, March.
    10. Tara Bedi & Aline Coudouel & Kenneth Simler, 2007. "More Than a Pretty Picture : Using Poverty Maps to Design Better Policies and Interventions," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6800, June.
    11. Fujii, Tomoki, 2005. "Micro-level estimation of child malnutrition indicators and its application in Cambodia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3662, The World Bank.
    12. Demombynes, Gabriel & Ozler, Berk, 2005. "Crime and local inequality in South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 265-292, April.
    13. Shorrocks, A F, 1980. "The Class of Additively Decomposable Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 613-625, April.
    14. Chris Elbers & Jean O. Lanjouw & Peter Lanjouw, 2003. "Micro--Level Estimation of Poverty and Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 355-364, January.
    15. Fujii, Tomoki & Roland-Holst, David, 2007. "How Does Vietnam's Accession to the World Trade Organization Change the Spatial Incidence of Poverty?," WIDER Working Paper Series 012, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    16. Fujii, Tomoki, 2008. "How Well Can We Target Aid with Rapidly Collected Data? Empirical Results for Poverty Mapping from Cambodia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1830-1842, October.
    17. Ravi Kanbur, 2006. "The policy significance of inequality decompositions," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 4(3), pages 367-374, December.
    18. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1997:87:9:1491-1498_6 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Tomoki Fujii, 2010. "Micro-Level Estimation of Child Undernutrition Indicators in Cambodia," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 24(3), pages 520-553, December.
    20. Adam Wagstaff, 2005. "Inequality decomposition and geographic targeting with applications to China and Vietnam," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(6), pages 649-653.
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    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • D00 - Microeconomics - - General - - - General

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