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Identifying Childhood Deprivation: How Well do National Indicators of Poverty and Social Exclusion in Ireland Perform?

Christopher Whelan () and Bertrand Maître

No 201121, Working Papers from Geary Institute, University College Dublin

Abstract: In light of widespread agreement that poverty and social exclusion should be understood as multidimensional phenomenon, in this paper we explore the practical implications of such an understanding in relation to widely employed indicators of such phenomena in Ireland. One persistent critique of the current national measures of poverty and social exclusion comes from those who feel that the findings they produce are inaccurate in relation to particular stages of the life-course. To date the critiques in the Irish case have been accompanied by relatively little in the way of systematic research documenting the alleged limitations of national measures. In this paper we have taken advantage of the inclusion of a special module on childhood deprivation in EU-SILC 2009 to explore such issues in more depth. Our analysis reveals that, to the extent that national measures fail to identify childhood deprivation, this is largely a consequence of limitations in capturing wider command over economic resources and distinctive risk profiles in relation to exposure to deprivation and economic stress. Overall our analysis leads us to the conclusion that those exposed to childhood deprivation are generally a sub-set of the children captured by national indicators. Adopting a multidimensional and dynamic perspective on household resources and deprivation enables us to capture the large majority of children exposed to childhood deprivation. Conversely restricting our attention to childhood deprivation would lead us to miss out on larger numbers of children living in households experiencing basic deprivation. The national measures of poverty and social exclusion that have been employed in the Irish case are largely successful in capturing childhood deprivation.

Pages: 35 pages
Date: 2011-09-19
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hap
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Journal Article: Identifying Childhood Deprivation: How Well Do National Indicators of Poverty and Social Exclusion in Ireland Perform? (2012) Downloads
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