Measuring Chronic Poverty

OPHI Working Papers

A new class of chronic poverty measures is constructed that builds upon Jalan and Ravallion (1998) but does not require resources in different periods to be perfect substitutes when identifying the chronically poor. We use a general mean to combine the resources of a person into a permanent income standard that is then compared to a poverty line to determine when a person is chronically poor. The parameter  of the general mean allows for varying degrees of substitutability over time, from perfect substitutes at  to perfect complements as β tends to -¥. The decomposable Clark, Hemming and Ulph (1981) poverty measure with the same parameter β is applied to the distribution of permanent income standards to measure overall chronic poverty. Each measure has a convenient expression in terms of a censored matrix and satisfies a host of properties including decomposability. We provide an empirical application of the new measures using panel data from urban areas in Argentina. 

Citation: Foster, J.E. and Santos, M.E. (2012). 'Measuring chronic poverty', OPHI Working Papers 52, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford.

Also published in G. Betti and A. Lemmi (eds.) (2014). Poverty and Social Inclusion: New Methods of Analysis, Ch. 8, Routledge.

chronic poverty, intertemporal poverty, poverty measurement, identification, income standards, CHU indices, decomposability.
Latin America and the Caribbean

James E. Foster and Maria Emma Santos
Series Name
OPHI Working Papers
Publication date
JEL Codes
I31, I32, D31, D63
Publication Number
WP 52