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La incapacidad para ser auto-suficiente como un indicador de pobreza : Uruguay, 1991-2005


  • Rodrigo Arim

    () (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía)

  • Gioia de Melo

    () (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía)


The usual criteria to measure poverty relies on measuring income. This method has been questioned by Amartya Sen’s capabilities approach. However, there is still no consensus on how to operationalize the capabilities approach. In this paper we use a poverty measure developed by Haveman and Bershadker (1998) that intends to identify the individuals who are incapable of generating on their own the minimim necessary income in order to live a decent life. Thereby, the analysis shifts from current cash income towards self reliance, a measure more consistent with the capabilities approach. We analyze poverty dynamics in Uruguay for the period 1991-2005 and find that the population which is unable to be self-reliant is larger tan the population that is considered poor by the standard measure. Even if both measures show a similar trend, the trend in the percentage of population who cannot be self reliant is smoother suggesting that it resembles more to a measure of structural poverty. During the nineties, more tan 30% of the population was considered poor according to at least one of the two measures (or by both) and this indicator rose up to 45% in 2004. This suggests that a more comprehensive understanding of poverty cannot rely solely on cash income as a welfare indicator.

Suggested Citation

  • Rodrigo Arim & Gioia de Melo, 2006. "La incapacidad para ser auto-suficiente como un indicador de pobreza : Uruguay, 1991-2005," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 06-11, Instituto de Economía - IECON.
  • Handle: RePEc:ulr:wpaper:dt-11-06

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    poverty measures; human capital;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity


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