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Submitted by Mamta on

Thanks Andrejs. I fully agree that we need to look at multiple dimensions of well-being. Most of the writing on the tenth anniversary of the 2004 EU expansion focuses on GDP per capita alone. This is why we decided to look beyond it. Given the renewed focus on poverty reduction at the World Bank, we looked at the At Risk of Poverty (AROP) measure. As the blog suggests, when you look beyond measures of aggregate welfare, the picture is more mixed. To take one case, Hungary, while there has been income growth at the national level and some convergence with EU-15, the AROP measure has hardly changed. In this sense, people are not better off.
On the question of indebtedness, this is difficult to handle in the AROP framework. AROP is a multidimensional measure that is the sum of those who have low income, are materially deprived and have low work intensity, with the same person counted only once. The material deprivation sub-measure has nine dimensions, but none of them relates to indebtedness. (It does include ability to face unexpected expenses, which is related to having savings and not being in debt, but admittedly this is only an indirect connection.) You raise an interesting point on whether AROP has declined on account of emigration of the jobless. In principle, a decline in the joblessness (low work intensity) rate on account of emigration could lead to a decline in the AROP. In practice, for the countries where there has been a decline, it is the result of a fall in all sub-measures (low income, material deprivation and low work intensity).