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Prices, unit values and local measurement units in rural surveys: an econometric approach with an application to poverty measurement in Ethiopia

  • Bart Capéau

    ()

  • Stefan Dercon

    ()

For many research problems in developing countries, some information on prices faced by households is required for the analysis, for example if subsistence consumption is a substantial part of consumption. These prices are not readily available from household surveys, nor is it straightforward to observe them. Furthermore, quantities consumed and produced are often in local units presenting further problems for the analysis. We provide an econometric approach to estimate prices and quantity conversion factors from household expenditure data. We use panel data from rural Ethiopia to illustrate the approach and to investigate the potential exogenous quality bias in the estimation of the prices. In an application, we show that the conclusions about poverty changes over time are significantly affected by using less appropriate strategies to convert local units and to value subsistence consumption. We find that mean unit values result in the overestimation of prices due to outliers and other sources of measurement error. Exogenous consumer price sources, often collected at larger markets outside the village, tend to be slightly lower than our estimates.

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File URL: http://www.econ.kuleuven.ac.be/ew/academic/econover/Papers/puvlmurs.pdf
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Paper provided by Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën, Working Group Public Economics in its series Public Economics Working Paper Series with number puvlmurs.

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Length: 44 pp.
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming in abbreviated form under the same title in Journal of African Economies.
Handle: RePEc:wpe:papers:puvlmurs
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  1. Deaton, A., 1988. "Price Elasticities From Survey Data: Extensions And Indonesian Results," Papers 138, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  2. Christopher B. Barrett, 1996. "Market Analysis Methods: Are Our Enriched Toolkits Well Suited to Enlivened Markets?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(3), pages 825-829.
  3. Levin, Carol E., 1991. "Rural Household Data Collection in Developing Countries: Designing Instruments and Methods for Collecting Consumption and Expenditure Data," Working Papers 128151, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  4. Glewwe, Paul, 1990. "The measurement of income inequality under inflation : Correction formulae for three inequality measures," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 43-67, January.
  5. Deaton, Angus, 1988. "Quality, Quantity, and Spatial Variation of Price," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 418-30, June.
  6. Strauss, John, 1982. "Determinants of food consumption in rural Sierra Leone : Application of the quadratic expenditure system to the consumption-leisure component of a household-firm model," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 327-353, December.
  7. Ravallion, Martin & Bidani, Benu, 1994. "How Robust Is a Poverty Profile?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 8(1), pages 75-102, January.
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