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Are poor individuals mainly found in poor households ? evidence using nutrition data for Africa

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  • Brown,Caitlin Susan
  • Ravallion,Martin
  • Van De Walle,Dominique

Abstract

Antipoverty policies in developing countries often assume that targeting poor households will be reasonably effective in reaching poor individuals. This paper questions this assumption, using nutritional status as a proxy for individual poverty. The comprehensive assessment for Sub-Saharan Africa reveals that undernourished women and children are spread widely across the distribution of household wealth and consumption. Roughly three-quarters of underweight women and undernourished children are not found in the poorest 20 percent of households, and around half are not found in the poorest 40 percent. The mean joint probability of being an underweight woman and living in the poorest wealth quintile is only 0.03. Countries with higher overall rates of undernutrition tend to have a higher share of undernourished individuals in nonpoor households. The results are consistent with evidence of substantial intrahousehold inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Brown,Caitlin Susan & Ravallion,Martin & Van De Walle,Dominique, 2017. "Are poor individuals mainly found in poor households ? evidence using nutrition data for Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8001, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:8001
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    1. repec:eee:wdevel:v:110:y:2018:i:c:p:63-74 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:jfpoli:v:81:y:2018:i:c:p:82-94 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Sylvie Lambert & Philippe De Vreyer, 2017. "By ignoring intra-household inequality do we underestimate the extent of poverty?," Working Papers DT/2017/05, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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