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poverty measurement

A review of Martin Ravallion’s new book: The Economics of Poverty

David McKenzie's picture
Martin Ravallion has spent over 30 years working on poverty, with his career as the leading expert on the topic at the World Bank more recently augmented by his more recent position as a professor at Georgetown which has involved teaching an undergraduate class on the topic. From this depth of knowledge comes his new textbook The Economics of Poverty: History, Measurement, and Policy.

How We Measure Poverty in Vietnam

Linh Hoang Vu's picture



What does it mean to be poor in Vietnam? When I grew up in Hanoi in the late 80s, poverty was all around. Most of the population then was living under the international poverty line ($1.25 per day). Because there were no living standard surveys to measure poverty, there was no clear indication of what it meant to be poor. A rich person at that time was someone with either a motorbike or a television set, while a poor one was a street beggar or someone who did not have enough rice to eat.  In the earliest survey conducted in 1992 and 1993, about 64% of the population was poor by the international poverty line. Twenty years later, less than 3% were considered poor by the same standard while hunger was successfully eradicated.

Getting to better data: Talking to strangers

Markus Goldstein's picture
About 15 years ago, when I was doing my dissertation research with a professor with experience in fieldwork, we did a 15 round survey with households in Ghana.   Given the frequency of the visits, we based the enumerators in the village.  But we were careful to hire enumerators from nearby big towns -- not the villages in which we were working.  This was partly for skills, but mostly to make sure that the enumerators wouldn't be asking sensitive questions of people they knew.