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Old Age Poverty In The Indian States: What The Household Data Can Say?

  • Sarmistha Pal

    (Brunel University)

  • Robert Palacios

    (World Bank)

In the absence of any official measures of old age poverty, this paper uses National Sample Survey household-level data to investigate the extent and nature of living standards and incidence of poverty among elderly in sixteen major states in India. We construct both individual and household-level poverty indices for the elderly and examine the sensitivity of these poverty indices to different equivalence scales and size economies in consumption. In general, these adjusted estimates indicate that households with elderly members have lower incidence of poverty in all of the states, albeit to different degrees. Part of the explanation appears to be related to differences in dependency ratios in households with and without elderly, where a significant percentage of elderly, especially men, continue to work well past the age of sixty. The favourable effect of the presence of elderly on household living standards and incidence of poverty is however weakened once we control for dependency ratio, among other things, with significant inter-state variation noted in our sample.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Labor and Demography with number 0505015.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 17 May 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0505015
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 30
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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  1. Sarmistha Pal, 2004. "Do Children Act As Old Age Security In Rural India? Evidence From An Analysis Of Elderly Living Arrangements," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2004 107, Royal Economic Society.
  2. Sarmistha Pal, 2004. "Do Children Act As Old Age Security in Rural India? Evidence from an Analysis of Elderly Living Arrangements," Labor and Demography 0405002, EconWPA, revised 15 Oct 2004.
  3. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1998. "Economies of Scale, Household Size, and the Demand for Food," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 897-930, October.
  4. Sugata Ghosh & Sarmistha Pal, 2003. "The effect of inequality on growth: Theory and evidence from the Indian states," Development and Comp Systems 0309006, EconWPA.
  5. Hills, John, 2004. "Inequality and the State," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199276646, March.
  6. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1995. "Measuring Poverty Among the Elderly," NBER Working Papers 5296, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Barrientos, Armando & Gorman, Mark & Heslop, Amanda, 2003. "Old Age Poverty in Developing Countries: Contributions and Dependence in Later Life," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 555-570, March.
  8. Dreze, Jean & Srinivasan, P. V., 1997. "Widowhood and poverty in rural India: Some inferences from household survey data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 217-234, December.
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