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The Political Economy of Antipoverty Spending and Poverty Measurement

Listed author(s):
  • Stefano Barbieri

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

  • Sean Higgins

    ()

    (University of California, Berkeley)

Registered author(s):

    Governments around the world are changing the way they measure poverty, adopting multidimensional poverty measures that take into account deprivations in health, education, and other dimensions. This, in turn, can affect the incentives of government agents, their strategic interactions, and total antipoverty spending. Does adopting a multidimensional poverty measure lead to higher government spending on the poor? If so, why? And how does it affect resource allocations across government ministries? We answer these questions in a game-theoretic framework in which line ministers receive prestige by reducing poverty. Adopting a multidimensional index enables more ministers to directly influence measured poverty; however, improvements in the scalar index become a public good, engendering free riding on others' antipoverty spending. The multidimensional measure also creates a new set of policy levers, which policymakers can use to maximize government prestige or antipoverty spending; these two objectives generally conflict.

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    File URL: http://econ.tulane.edu/RePEc/pdf/tul1604r.pdf
    File Function: Revised Version, January 2017
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Tulane University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1604.

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    Date of creation: May 2016
    Date of revision: Jan 2017
    Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1604
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    1. Alkire, Sabina & Foster, James & Seth, Suman & Santos, Maria Emma & Roche, Jose Manuel & Ballon, Paola, 2015. "Multidimensional Poverty Measurement and Analysis," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199689491.
    2. Sabina Alkire and Maria Emma Santos, 2013. "Measuring Acute Poverty in the Developing World: Robustness and Scope of the Multidimensional Poverty Index," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp059, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
    3. James E. Foster & Sabina Alkire, 2011. "Understandings and Misunderstandings of Multidimensional Poverty Measurement," Working Papers 2011-18, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    4. Sabina Alkire and James Foster, 2011. "Where Did Identification Go?," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp043b, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
    5. Sabina Alkire, James E. Foster, Suman Seth, Maria Emma Santos, Jose M. Roche and Paola Ballon, 2015. "Multidimensional Poverty Measurement and Analysis: Chapter 7 - Data and Analysis," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp088_ch7.pdf, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
    6. Alkire, Sabina & Foster, James, 2011. "Counting and multidimensional poverty measurement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 476-487, August.
    7. Sabina Alkire, James E. Foster, Suman Seth, Maria Emma Santos, Jose M. Roche and Paola Ballon, 2015. "Multidimensional Poverty Measurement and Analysis: Chapter 9 - Distribution and Dynamics," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp090_ch9.pdf, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
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