From Conceptualization to Quantification

  • Efraim Gutkind


The major underlying principle in the conceptualization of the measurement procedure is the notion of ‘property space’. This concept has been developed by Lazarsfeld in several papers (1954) and has been summarized by Barton (1955).


Middle Class Time Orientation Political Participation Social Mobility Poor People 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    As one may argue, many of these variables, as will be seen later, describe causes of poverty or are caused by poverty, or even describe general aspects of behaviour. However, according to our conceptualization (chapters 1 and 2), such variables should be considered an integral part of poverty.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The answers of the respondents to these measurement instruments involve subjectivity as well. It is a result of the way the respondents perceive the questions and the way they react to them. This problem has been discussed in Chapter 3.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The latter group also includes variables that can be recorded along an interval scale or a ratio scale (for example, age). However, since the statistics techniques used in this study require only ordinal—scaling, we did not disaggregate the variables into more groups.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    A good description of the basic beliefs of each religion can be found in World Religions: Meeting Points and Major Issues by H. D. Lewis and R. L. Slater, London, Watts, 1966.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    The policy implications are more towards policies advocating equal distribution of income in order to equalize personal well-being.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Levinson (1969) has shown that public aid given to AFDC mothers may cause children to have more behavioural and educational problems compare to those children whose parents never applied for aid.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    The underlined assumption is that the parent with the highest socioeconomic status will usually be dominant in terms of income and learning ability. It was felt that it was beyond the scope of this study to assign a parent’s socio-economic status differential scale which may capture differences in social status within the family.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    On the returns to education among different ethnic groups see Lassiter (1965), Spady (1967) and Weiss and Williamson (1972).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    For a description of this problem for the aged, see Morgan, J. N. ‘Measuring the Economic Status of the Aged’, International Economic Review, 6, January 1965, pp. 3–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    It was noted (Tobin, 1967) that in government programmes children’s allowances are a flat sum paid for each child. This requires the possibility of economics to scale in the living costs of larger families and in fact gives the same kind of benefit to poor and rich families.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Wiesbrod and Hansen (1968) pointed out that an adequate definition of poverty depends also on family size as well as non-monetary income.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    The Iso-Prop Index proposed by Watts (1967) followed Friedman as well.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Similar concepts have been used in the past in order to rank families by their economic welfare (see, for example, Woodbury, 1944). The most common method was to build consumption scales which are generally used to equate the needs of different sized families and different structures to a common standard.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    As Vickrey shows (1947) a classification based on the equivalent scale summarizes data more accurately than a classification by family. In an attached comment, Hansen, Reid, Brady and Cornfield have argued that such a scale loses information and blurs the distinction between family size and income since the two are connected. They also pointed out that the concept ignores economies of scale — a problem that is not ignored in our measures.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Non-monetary income was found to be concentrated mainly among farm families. (See Reid, 1952).Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    On the problems of AFDC mothers, one can refer to Kahn and Perkins, ‘Families receiving AFDC: What do they have to live on?’ Welfare in Review, October 1964, pp. 7-15.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    For the intergenerational effect that dependency has see Levinson’s (1969) study on AFDC mothers.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    On the standards for AFDC mothers, see National Center for Social Statistics Aid to Families with Dependent Children: Standards for Basic Needs, July 1974, Washington, DC, Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare, 1975.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Watts (1967) used a ratio of a family’s permanent income to its total needs as such an index.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    The poverty line was determined to be $8414 for 1980 and $9424 for 1981 for a family of four. These figures followed the US Department of Labour publications (1980) and were corrected for both family size and structure according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics equivalent scale.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    In his words, the arbitrariness of ‘necessities’ poses problems.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Such issues were found by the US Department of Labour (1970) and through surveys of income distribution in Britain during the 1940s and 50s to complicate standards of living, income and expenditure studies.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    An alternative way of measuring occupational status was suggested by Moles (1979). He found that first job experiences are the most significant in measuring occupational status since the effect of educational attainment manifests itself through these first job experiences.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    For a summary of the notion of voluntary unemployment versus the notion of forced unemployment, see Standing, International Labour Review, no. 5, vol. 120, 1981.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    On the measurement of health statistics, see Belloc, 1973.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Even though several studies have shown that 30–45 drinks per month may be even beneficial for one’s health, the researchers who construct this scale choose not to include this ‘healthy range’ as contributing to one’s health (see Belloc and Breslow, 1972).Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    The latter was excluded in our study because of measurement difficulties.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    The definitions of one serving for the different food groups are; bread—cereal group: 1 serving = 1 slice of bread, 1 oz ready-to-eat cereal, cornmeal, macaroni, noodles, rice or spaghetti. vegetable—fruit group: 1 serving = 1/2 cup of vegetables or fruit or a portion as ordinarily served such as 1 medium apple, orange, banana, potato, 1/2 a medium grapefruit or cantaloup, or the juice of 1 lemon. milk and milk products: 1 serving = 1 8 oz cup of milk or 2 cubic cm cheddar type cheese or 11/2 cups cottage cheese or 1 cup plain yoghurt or 11/2 cups ice cream or iced milk. meat group: 1 serving = 2–3 oz cooked lean meat, poultry or fish alternatives for 1 serving of meat or fish, 2 eggs, 1 cup cooked dry beans, dry peas or lentils or 4 tablespoons peanut butter.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Contradictory findings are reported by Lawrence and Maxwell (1962) who found that the percentage of women of the lower classes who drink was considerably less than those in the middle and upper classes. Among men, the variations across different classes were minimal.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    1 drink = 12 oz beer or 4 oz wine or 1 oz spirit.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    We have chosen here to follow the Human Population Laboratory in Berkeley, California which, in spite of the ‘health range’ findings, has chosen not to consider it as contributing positively to one’s health practice (see health practice variable in this section).Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    1/2–1 packet per day, 1 point; 1–11/2 packets per day, 2 points and 11/2–2 packets per day, 3 points.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Strodeback et al. (1965) found that even when lower status individuals were brought into a decision-making position (under experimental schemes), they tend to participate less in discussions.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    One may argue that contact with the police, even if regarded as a contact, should not get a positive score. However, we feel that even such contact, which may have negative reasoning, should score positively since in this variable we would like to capture the individual’s contacts with institutions around him and, as such, the connotation of a contact with the police is irrelevant.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    The success of programmes designed to increase the mobility of the poor and unemployed are emphasized by the above study. Such programmes were designed to carry low income city residents to suburban jobs. A similar study in 1974 indicated that when public transport is available, the poor are the first to use it.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    They suggest that these differences arise because the comparisons is not valid. The proper comparison is between those who were brought up in poor areas but left, with people of the same background who stayed.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Schulz and Carvin (1972) quoted three elements that may influence such calculations: (1) the definition of adequacy, (2) inflation and (3) economic growth.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Simpson (1962) found that for both middle class and working class boys the extent of ‘anticipatory socialization’ into middle class values depends to a large extent on association and friendships with middle class persons.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Worries may be different from anxiety since people have different levels of tolerance.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    The effect of the educational system in perpetuating poverty was studied by Socket (1965). She argued that the system is middle class oriented and subordinated lower class values. As a result, children from lower classes have low self-respect as their pre-school identities are neglected.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    In a similar study, Thernstorm (1968) investigated whether in the nineteenth century the poor had justified hopes of advancement in contrast to today’s ‘ghettos of despair’. He found little social mobility in the past where blacks were noted to be worse off at all levels and concluded that there was not much hope for social mobility in the nineteenth century.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    On reservations of such interpretations see Allen (1970).Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    This study was criticized because of erroneous statistical treatment of this data and later findings that showed the results to be statistically insignificant (see Greene and Roberts, ‘Time Orientation and Social Class: A Correlation’, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 62, 1961, p. 141).Google Scholar

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© Efraim Gutkind 1986

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  • Efraim Gutkind

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