Measuring poverty: what's in the line?

Author: Alejandro Grinspun
Thematic Area: Inclusive Growth

Abstract:Despite a long pedigree that dates back to late Victorian England, the notion of a ‘poverty line’ – a welfare threshold expressed in monetary terms – is not without its problems. Critics contend that the idea of a discrete cut-off point separating the poor from the non-poor is conceptually flawed as poverty and well-being can best be seen as a continuum. There is, in fact, considerable movement into and out of poverty that studies relying on a fixed poverty line fail to capture. (...)

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