How Serious is the Neglect of Intra-Household Inequality in Multi-Dimensional Poverty Indices?

44 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2016 Last revised: 11 Mar 2016

See all articles by Stephan Klasen

Stephan Klasen

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Rahul Lahoti

University of Goettingen (Gottingen)

Date Written: February 2016

Abstract

Income-based as well as most existing multidimensional poverty indices (MPI) assume equal distribution within the household and thus yield a biased assessment of individual poverty and poverty by age or gender. In this paper we first show that the direction of the bias depends on how these measures use individual data to determine the poverty status of households, while the impact of these assumptions on inequality between individual cannot be determined a priori. We then use data from the 2012 Indian Human Development Survey to create a standard household-based MPIs closely related to the MPI proposed by Alkire and Santos (2014) as well as UNDP (2014), and compare that to an individual level MPI that individualizes education and nutrition and some aspects of the living standards dimensions. We find that the poverty rate of females is 14 percentage points higher than that of men in our individual MPI measure but only 2 percentage points higher when using the household-based measure. Similarly, the age differentials in poverty are much larger using the individual-based measure. Using a decomposable inequality measure, we find the contribution of intrahousehold inequality to the total inequality in the individual deprivation score inequality to be 30% and total inequality is also some 30% higher using the individual-based measure, while inequality among the poor is found to be 5% smaller using the individual measure.

Keywords: multi-dimensional poverty, poverty measurment, intra-household inequality, India

JEL Classification: I3, I32, D1, D13, D6, D63, O5, O53

Suggested Citation

Klasen, Stephan and Lahoti, Rahul, How Serious is the Neglect of Intra-Household Inequality in Multi-Dimensional Poverty Indices? (February 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2742083 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2742083

Stephan Klasen

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

Platz der Goettinger Sieben 3
Goettingen, 37073
Germany
+49-551-397303 (Phone)
+49-551-397302 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: www.vwl.wiso.uni-goettingen.de/klasen.html

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Rahul Lahoti (Contact Author)

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) ( email )

Platz der Gottinger Sieben 3
Gottingen, D-37073
Germany

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