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Polarization of the Poor: Multivariate Relative Poverty Measurement Sans Frontiers


  • Gordon Anderson


A major impediment to poverty evaluation in multivariate environments are the difficulties associated with formulating poverty frontiers. This paper proposes a new multivariate polarization measure which, in appropriate circumstances, works as a multivariate poverty measure which does not require computation of a poverty frontier. As a poverty measure it has the intuitive appeal of reflecting the degree to which societies poor and non-poor are polarized. (The measure would also have considerable application in studying multivariate convergence issues in economic growth models). The measure is exemplified in a poor-non poor country study over the period 1990-2005 based upon the joint distribution of per capita GNP and Life Expectancy. The results suggest that as a group the world’s poor are experiencing diminished poverty polarization, however within the world’s poor the African Nations are experiencing increased poverty polarization.

Suggested Citation

  • Gordon Anderson, 2009. "Polarization of the Poor: Multivariate Relative Poverty Measurement Sans Frontiers," Working Papers tecipa-366, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-366

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    Multivariate Poverty Measurement; Polarization;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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