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Estimating Poverty for Refugee Populations: Can Cross-Survey Imputation Methods Substitute for Data Scarcity?

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  • Dang, Hai-Anh H.
  • Verme, Paolo

Abstract

The increasing growth of forced displacement worldwide has led to the stronger interest of various stakeholders in measuring poverty among refugee populations. However, refugee data remain scarce, particularly in relation to the measurement of income, consumption, or expenditure. This paper offers a first attempt to measure poverty among refugees using cross-survey imputations and administrative and survey data collected by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Jordan. Employing a small number of predictors currently available in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees registration system, the proposed methodology offers out-of-sample predicted poverty rates. These estimates are not statistically different from the actual poverty rates. The estimates are robust to different poverty lines, they are more accurate than those based on asset indexes or proxy means tests, and they perform well according to targeting indicators. They can also be obtained with relatively small samples. Despite these preliminary encouraging results, it is essential to replicate this experiment across countries using different data sets and welfare aggregates before validating the proposed method.

Suggested Citation

  • Dang, Hai-Anh H. & Verme, Paolo, 2019. "Estimating Poverty for Refugee Populations: Can Cross-Survey Imputation Methods Substitute for Data Scarcity?," GLO Discussion Paper Series 429, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:429
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hai‐Anh Dang & Dean Jolliffe & Calogero Carletto, 2019. "Data Gaps, Data Incomparability, And Data Imputation: A Review Of Poverty Measurement Methods For Data‐Scarce Environments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(3), pages 757-797, July.
    2. Brown, Caitlin & Ravallion, Martin & van de Walle, Dominique, 2018. "A poor means test? Econometric targeting in Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 109-124.
    3. Dang,Hai-Anh H. & Lanjouw,Peter F. & Serajuddin,Umar & Dang,Hai-Anh H. & Lanjouw,Peter F. & Serajuddin,Umar, 2014. "Updating poverty estimates at frequent intervals in the absence of consumption data : methods and illustration with reference to a middle-income country," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7043, The World Bank.
    4. Verme, Paolo & Schuettler, Kirsten, 2021. "The impact of forced displacement on host communities: A review of the empirical literature in economics," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C).
    5. Tarozzi, Alessandro, 2007. "Calculating Comparable Statistics From Incomparable Surveys, With an Application to Poverty in India," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 314-336, July.
    6. Ravallion, Martin, 1996. "Issues in Measuring and Modelling Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1328-1343, September.
    7. Hai-Anh H. Dang & Peter F. Lanjouw, 2018. "Poverty Dynamics in India between 2004 and 2012: Insights from Longitudinal Analysis Using Synthetic Panel Data," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67(1), pages 131-170.
    8. Astrid Mathiassen, 2013. "Testing Prediction Performance of Poverty Models: Empirical Evidence from U ganda," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 59(1), pages 91-112, March.
    9. Kathleen Beegle & Luc Christiaensen & Andrew Dabalen & Isis Gaddis, 2016. "Poverty in a Rising Africa," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 22575, December.
    10. Verme, Paolo & Gigliarano, Chiara, 2019. "Optimal targeting under budget constraints in a humanitarian context," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 224-233.
    11. Paolo Verme & Chiara Gigliarano & Christina Wieser & Kerren Hedlund & Marc Petzoldt & Marco Santacroce, 2016. "The Welfare of Syrian Refugees," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 23228, December.
    12. Jose Cuesta & Gabriel Lara Ibarra, 2017. "Comparing Cross-Survey Micro Imputation and Macro Projection Techniques: Poverty in Post Revolution Tunisia," Journal of Income Distribution, Ad libros publications inc., vol. 25(1), pages 1-30, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dang, Hai-Anh & Lanjouw, Peter F., 2021. "Data Scarcity and Poverty Measurement," IZA Discussion Papers 14631, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Theresa Beltramo & Hai-Anh H. Dang & Ibrahima Sarr & Paolo Verme, 2020. "Estimating Poverty among Refugee Populations: A Cross-Survey Imputation Exercise for Chad," Working Papers 536, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    poverty imputation; Syrian refugees; household survey; missing data; Jordan;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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