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Poverty at Higher Frequency

Merfeld, Joshua / Morduch, Jonathan

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Abstract

Poverty is typically measured as insufficient yearly income or consumption. In practice, however, poverty is marked by seasonality, economic instability, and illiquidity across months. To capture within-year variability, we extend traditional poverty measures to include a temporal dimension. Using panel data from rural India, we show how conventional poverty measures can distort understandings of poverty: exposure to poverty is wider and more common than typically measured, and poverty entry and exit are not sharp transitions. Accounting for within-year variability improves predictions of anthropometrics, and targeting transfers to challenging periods can reduce poverty most effectively by compensating for imperfect consumption smoothing.

Issue Date
2022-11
Publisher
New York University
Keywords
Volatility; Consumption Smoothing; Poverty Measurement; Seasonal Poverty; Liquidity; Household Expenditure; Household Income
Pages
65
URI
https://archives.kdischool.ac.kr/handle/11125/46335
URL
https://wagner.nyu.edu/impact/research/publications/poverty-higher-frequency
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