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Relative or Absolute Poverty Lines - A New Approach

  • David Madden

    (University College Dublin)

When measuring poverty over time analysts must choose the value of the income elasticity of the poverty line, which essentially determines whether an absolute or relative poverty line is being used. The choice of this parameter is ultimately a value judgement but this paper suggests an approach which has some empirical basis. Borrowing from the life-style and deprivation approach to poverty various dimensions of poverty and deprivation are identified and the income elasticity of these items is used as the income elasticity of the poverty line. Data from the 1987 and 1994 Irish Household Budget Surveys suggest an upper bound of 0.7 for this parameter. Poverty measures using a number of values of the income elasticity of the poverty line are presented and test statistics are presented to determine whether observed differences in poverty measures are statistically significant.

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File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/economics/research/papers/1999/WP99.09.pdf
File Function: First version, 1999
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by School Of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 199909.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 08 Oct 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:199909
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Web page: http://www.ucd.ie/economics

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  1. Callan, Tim & Nolan, Brian & Walsh, John R., 1998. "Income Tax and Social Welfare Policies," Papers BP1999/2, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  2. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1998. "Consumption Inequality And Income Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 603-640, May.
  3. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-31, March.
  4. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  5. Kay, J. A. & Keen, M. J. & Morris, C. N., 1984. "Estimating consumption from expenditure data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 169-181.
  6. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
  7. Blundell, Richard & Meghir, Costas, 1987. "Bivariate alternatives to the Tobit model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 179-200.
  8. Donal O'Neill & Olive Sweetman, 1999. "Poverty and Inequality in Ireland: A Comparison using Measures of Income and Consumption," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n860399, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
  9. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
  10. Deaton, Angus & Irish, Margaret, 1984. "Statistical models for zero expenditures in household budgets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 59-80.
  11. repec:esr:chaptr:jacb199808 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Foster, James E, 1998. "Absolute versus Relative Poverty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 335-41, May.
  13. Desai, Meghnad & Shah, Anup, 1988. "An Econometric Approach to the Measurement of Poverty," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(3), pages 505-22, September.
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