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Rebuilding Babel: finding common development solutions using cross-contextual comparisons of multidimensional well-being

James R. Hull and Gilvan Guedes
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James R. Hull: Brown University
Gilvan Guedes: Vale do Rio Doce University

Textos para Discussão Cedeplar-UFMG from Cedeplar, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais

Abstract: We build on the theoretical tradition of livelihood strategies and capital portfolios to empirically assess wellbeing among rural households, but with an eye to comparison across contexts. First, we estimate a multidimensional measure of poverty based on fuzzy logic, for two rural frontiers: Nang Rong, Thailand and Altamira, Brazil. To enable cross-contextual comparison, we calculate a second estimate using a subset of shared measures. We find that the pattern of response over the range of many key variables – for example education, income, and demographic dependency ratio – is robust to model specification, suggesting that comparative generalizations, useful in formulating cost-effective policy interventions across contexts, could be satisfactorily identified in many instances. More generally, our approach provides researchers and policymakers with a framework for understanding the interaction of context and the subjective construction of wellbeing that is useful for distinguishing stable corollaries of poverty from those that are volatile across contexts.

Keywords: Multidimensional poverty; Amazonia; Thailand; Cross-site comparison; Grade of Membership. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O15 P47 Q12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011-12
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