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Child Poverty in Vietnam: Using Adult Equivalence Scales to Estimate Income-Poverty for Different Age Groups

  • Howard White

    (Institute of Development Studies)

Estimates of child poverty are based on the percentage of children living in poor households, which ignores the issue of intrahousehold allocation. It is commonly argued that the fact that data are collected at the household level means it is not possible to report figures relating to the number of children living in poverty. Yet analysts using income and expenditure data routinely make adjustments to these data which implicitly tell us exactly how much of household expenditure is going on each child. These adjustments are the use of adult equivalence scales. These scales give child consumption as a proportion of that of an adult male, and hence can be used to calculate child consumption shares. These scales may be estimated econometrically, and are hence based on intra-household allocation patterns for the households under study. Moreover, the scales can be estimated separately for different sub-samples of the population, allowing estimates of child poverty rates for different groups; for example how child poverty differs between boys and girls or for different ethnic groups. This paper presents such estimates in the case of Vietnam.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Development and Comp Systems with number 0504016.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 29 Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0504016
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 36
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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  1. Sonia Bhalotra & Cliff Attfield, 1998. "Intrahousehold resource allocation in rural Pakistan: a semiparametric analysis," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(5), pages 463-480.
  2. Pollak, Robert A & Wales, Terence J, 1979. "Welfare Comparisons and Equivalence Scales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 216-21, May.
  3. Deaton, Angus S & Ruiz-Castillo, Javier & Thomas, Duncan, 1989. "The Influence of Household Composition on Household Expenditure Patterns: Theory and Spanish Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 179-200, February.
  4. Haughton, Dominique & Haughton, Jonathan, 1997. "Explaining Child Nutrition in Vietnam," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(3), pages 541-56, April.
  5. Van Praag, Bernard M.S. & Warnaar, Marcel F., 1993. "The cost of children and the use of demographic variables in consumer demand," Handbook of Population and Family Economics, in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 241-273 Elsevier.
  6. Ferreira, M Luisa & Buse, Reuben C & Chavas, Jean-Paul, 1998. "Is There Bias in Computing Household Equivalence Scales?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 44(2), pages 183-98, June.
  7. Shelley A. Phipps, 1998. "What Is The Income "Cost Of A Child"? Exact Equivalence Scales For Canadian Two-Parent Families," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 157-164, February.
  8. Lancaster, Geoffrey & Ray, Ranjan & Valenzuela, Maria Rebecca, 1999. "A Cross-Country Study of Equivalence Scales and Expenditure Inequality on Unit Record Household Budget Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 45(4), pages 455-82, December.
  9. Nelson, Julie A, 1993. "Household Equivalence Scales: Theory versus Policy?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(3), pages 471-93, July.
  10. J. L. Nicholson, 1976. "Appraisal Of Different Methods Of Estimating Equivalence Scales And Their Results," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 22(1), pages 1-11, 03.
  11. Deaton, Angus S & Muellbauer, John, 1986. "On Measuring Child Costs: With Applications to Poor Countries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 720-44, August.
  12. Lancaster, Geoffrey & Ray, Ranjan, 1998. "Comparison of Alternative Models of Household Equivalence Scales: The Australian Evidence on Unit Record Data," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 74(224), pages 1-14, March.
  13. Muellbauer, John, 1977. "Testing the Barten Model of Household Composition Effects and the Cost of Children," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 87(347), pages 460-87, September.
  14. Gronau, Reuben, 1991. "The Intrafamily Allocation of Goods--How to Separate the Adult from the Child," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(3), pages 207-35, July.
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