Measuring Poverty Using Qualitative Perceptions of Welfare

42 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Martin Ravallion

Martin Ravallion

Georgetown University

Menno Prasad Pradhan

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics; University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)

Date Written: November 1998

Abstract

Subjective poverty lines - based on the self-assessed adequacy of a family's food, housing, and clothing - accord closely on average with independent objective poverty lines. There are notable differences, however, when geographic and demographic poverty profiles are constructed. Pradhan and Ravallion show how subjective poverty lines can be derived using simple qualitative assessments of perceived consumption adequacy, based on a household survey. Respondents were asked whether their consumption of food, housing, and clothing was adequate for their family's needs.

Pradhan and Ravallion's approach, by identifying the subjective poverty line without the usual minimum-income question, offers wide applications in developing country settings. They implement it using survey data for Jamaica and Nepal.

The implied subjective poverty lines are robust to alternative methods of dealing with other components of consumption, for which the subjective adequacy question was not asked.

The aggregate poverty rates based on subjective poverty lines come close to those based on independent objective poverty lines.

There are notable differences, however, when geographic and demographic poverty profiles are constructed.

This paper - a product of Poverty and Human Resources, Development Research Group - is part of a larger effort in the department to improve methods of poverty measurement. Martin Ravallion may be contacted at mravallion@worldbank.org.

Suggested Citation

Ravallion, Martin and Pradhan, Menno, Measuring Poverty Using Qualitative Perceptions of Welfare (November 1998). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=569187

Martin Ravallion (Contact Author)

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Menno Pradhan

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081HV
Netherlands
+31(0)20 444 6137 (Phone)
+31(0)20 444 6127 (Fax)

University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) ( email )

Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

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