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Clarifying Poverty Decomposition

  • Müller, Adrian

I discuss how poverty decomposition methods relate to integral approximation, which ultimately is the foundation of every decomposition of the temporal change of a quantity into key drivers. This offers a common framework for the different decomposition methods used in the literature, clarifies their often somewhat unclear theoretical underpinning and identifies the methods’ shortcomings. In light of integral approximation, many methods actually lack a sound theoretical basis and they usually have an ad-hoc character in assigning the residual terms to the different key effects. I illustrate these claims for the Shapley-value decomposition and methods related to the Datt-Ravaillon approach and point out difficulties in axiomatic approaches to poverty decomposition. Recent developments in energy and pollutant decomposition offer some improved methods, but ultimately, a further development of poverty decomposition should account for the basis in integral approximation.

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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics in its series Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Zurich 2008 with number 30.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec08:30
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.ael.ethz.ch/

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  1. Ang, B.W., 1995. "Decomposition methodology in industrial energy demand analysis," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 20(11), pages 1081-1095.
  2. Muller, Adrian, 2006. "Putting decomposition of energy use and pollution on a firm footing - clarifications on the residual, zero and negative values and strategies to assess the performance of decomposition methods," Working Papers in Economics 215, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 10 Aug 2007.
  3. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
  4. Sun, J. W., 1998. "Changes in energy consumption and energy intensity: A complete decomposition model," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 85-100, February.
  5. Ang, B. W. & Liu, F. L. & Chew, E. P., 2003. "Perfect decomposition techniques in energy and environmental analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(14), pages 1561-1566, November.
  6. Paul, Satya, 2004. "Income sources effects on inequality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 435-451, February.
  7. Stanislav Kolenikov & Anthony Shorrocks, 2005. "A Decomposition Analysis of Regional Poverty in Russia," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(1), pages 25-46, 02.
  8. Guanghua Wan & Zhangyue Zhou, 2005. "Income Inequality in Rural China: Regression-based Decomposition Using Household Data," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(1), pages 107-120, 02.
  9. Vani K. Borooah, 2005. "Caste, Inequality, and Poverty in India," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(3), pages 399-414, 08.
  10. Stefan Dercon, 2001. "Economic reform, growth and the poor: evidence from rural Ethiopia," CSAE Working Paper Series 2001-08, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  11. Ang, B. W., 2004. "Decomposition analysis for policymaking in energy:: which is the preferred method?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1131-1139, June.
  12. Annegrete Bruvoll & Bodil Merethe Larsen, 2002. "Greenhouse gas emissions in Norway Do carbon taxes work?," Discussion Papers 337, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  13. Kraay, Aart, 2006. "When is growth pro-poor? Evidence from a panel of countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 198-227, June.
  14. Carlo V. Fiorio, 2006. "Understanding Inequality Trends:Microsimulation Decomposition for Italy," STICERD - Distributional Analysis Research Programme Papers 78, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  15. Kai-yuen Tsui, 1996. "Growth-equity decomposition of a change in poverty: An axiomatic approach," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 417-423, March.
  16. Thorbecke, Erik & Jung, Hong-Sang, 1996. "A multiplier decomposition method to analyze poverty alleviation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 279-300, March.
  17. Trivedi, P K, 1981. "Some Discrete Approximations to Divisia Integral Indices," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(1), pages 71-77, February.
  18. Shorrocks, A F, 1982. "Inequality Decomposition by Factor Components," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 193-211, January.
  19. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
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