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ARE WE COUNTING ALL THE POOR?

Marion Mercier and Philip Verwimp ()

Journal of Demographic Economics, 2017, vol. 83, issue 3, 307-327

Abstract: Having accurate poverty statistics is of primary importance for researchers and policy-makers. Based on original data on Burundi, we investigate the sensitivity of poverty headcount calculations to considering individual- instead of household-level consumption. Relying on a survey module which provides information on the share of expenses allocated to each member of the households, we calculate poverty statutes on an individual basis. Exploiting these direct measures to compute poverty headcounts allows us to put forward the discrepancy between individual- and household-level poverty computations. We identify “hidden poor,” i.e. poor individuals living in non-poor households, and show that they are predominantly children. We finally discuss potential mechanisms that could drive the results, and emphasize the importance of improving data collection devices for poverty-related policy making.

Date: 2017
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