Poverty in the World and in India

This work looks at how to measure poverty, with a particular focus on the poverty counts in the world, particularly the number of people living on less than a dollar (or two dollars) a day. The world poverty counts are constructed by the World Bank, and there are many issues concerning what they mean, whether they are reliable, and whether they might be improved. There has also been recent debate about why there has been so much growth in the world, and so little poverty reduction. The answer to this puzzle lies in deep contradictions between the data sources used to measure growth and those used to measure poverty.

Indian poverty is measured using a series of household surveys, run by India's National Sample Survey (NSS). The results of these surveys have been subject to intense debate in recent years. There are also significant questions about the appropriateness of the poverty lines used by the Government of India. Finally, the Indian consumer price indexes used in the poverty calculations have also been questioned. A series of papers addresses these issues.

More Information:
Angus Deaton's Full List of Working Papers and Publications
Research Program in Development Studies Working Papers
Center for Health and Wellbeing Working Papers

Interview with Angus Deaton about poverty in India on NDTV (New Delhi TV) program "BIG FISH" June 22, 2005. Dial- up users version or broadband users version. (This clip is approximately 30 minutes long.)

Papers on Poverty in the World and in India

The following is a list of recent papers and publications regarding Poverty in India and the World. Here's access to a full list of Angus Deaton's working papers and publications.

Food and Nutrition in India: Facts and Interpretations- April 2008

Price Trends in India and Their Implications for Measuring Poverty - February 2008, Economic and Political Weekly

Using Census and Survey Data to Estimate Poverty and Inequality for Small Areas - June 2007

Purchasing Power Parity Exchange Rates for the poor: Using Household Surveys to Construct PPPs - August 2006

Data and Dogma: The Great Indian Poverty Debate - August 2005

Measuring Poverty - July 2004
A generally accessible non-technical account of how poverty is measured

Health in an Age of Globalization - Brookings Trade Forum, April 2004 - Revised 7/04

Purchasing Power Parity Exchange Rates from Household Survey Data - Revised 5/04

Regional Poverty Estimates for India, 1999-2000 - August 2003

Measuring Poverty in a Growing World (or Measuring Growth in a Poor World) - Revised 4/04
The Review of Economics and Statistics, February 2005, 87(1), pp. 1- 19
Note: A discussion of this paper, "More or less equal?", appears in The Economist, Print Edition,
March 11, 2004.

How to Monitor Poverty for Millennium Development Goals
Journal of Human Development, November 2003, v. 4, iss. 3, pp. 353-378

Is World Poverty Falling?
Finance and Development: A Quarterly Magazine of the IMF, June 2002, v. 39, iss. 2
Note: An accompanying interview with Angus Deaton regarding policy issues appears in the IMF Survey

Poverty and Inequality in India: a Reexamination (with Jean Dreze)
Economic and Political Weekly, September 7, 2002, pp. 3729-3748

Prices and Poverty in India, 1987-2000
Economic and Political Weekly, January 25, 2003, pp. 362-368

Adjusted Indian Poverty Estimates for 1999-2000
Economic and Political Weekly, January 25, 2003, pp. 322–326

Counting the World's Poor: Problems and Possible Solutions 
World Bank Research Observer, Fall 2001, v. 16, iss. 2, pp. 125-147

Prices and Poverty in India (with Alessandro Tarozzi) - Revised 7/00