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Estimating Consumption- Based Poverty in the Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey
Authors: M Schreiner
Source: Ethiopian Journal of Economics, 21(1):74
Topic(s): Health equity
Country: Africa
Published: AUG 2013
Abstract: Inequalities in health are linked with poverty, but quantifying the health/poverty nexusis hampered by data constraints. In particular, the most common measure of poverty compares consumption with poverty lines, but consumption surveys often do not collect detailed health data. Conversely, the large repository of internationallycomparable Demographic and Health Surveys has detailed health data but no consumption data. This has led DHS researchers who want to control for socioeconomic status use an asset index defined in terms of housing characteristics and the ownership of durable goods. While this is a valid conception of poverty, it is difficult to compare it with the more-common consumption-based measure. This paper presents a simple poverty scorecard for Ethiopia based on the poverty-mapping approach of Elbers et al. (2003). It allows researchers to estimate the likelihood that consumption is below a given poverty line using nine verifiable, inexpensive-to-collect indicators found in both Ethiopia’s 2005 DHS and in the 2004/5 Household Income, Consumption, and Expenditure Survey. It turns out that the poverty scorecard and the DHS asset index do not generally rank people the same, so estimates of consumptionbased poverty in the DHS should use the poverty scorecard, not the DHS asset index. The bias and precision of scorecard estimates compare well with that of other tools, suggesting that government could use it to track poverty in years between national household expenditure surveys. Keywords: Poverty measurement, asset index, poverty mapping, Africa, Ethiopia, health equity