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Measuring Poverty: The Case for a Sociological Approach

  • David B. Grusky
  • Kim A. Weeden
Chapter

Abstract

We could not fault our readers for approaching yet another treatise on the proper way to measure poverty with a healthy degree of scepticism and more than a little irritation. Haven’t academics been debating issues of measurement endlessly? Isn’t it high time to stop debating and get on with the tasks of measuring poverty, developing policy, and taking action? We too would have hoped that by now a framework for measuring poverty and inequality would be as well developed as our sprawling and influential social indicator system for measuring total economic output. The unfortunate fact of the matter, however, is that a comprehensive and consensual framework is not in place, and such tools as now exist are not fully adequate to the task of representing the structure of poverty. The purpose of this chapter is to expose some of the assumptions about poverty measurement with which the disciplines of sociology and economics have been burdened, to show that these assumptions have not always served scholars in these disciplines well, and to develop a framework for poverty measurement that provides a more rigorously empirical foundation for measurement.

Keywords

Latent Class Human Development Index United Nations Development Programme Latent Class Model Manifest Variable 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • David B. Grusky
  • Kim A. Weeden

There are no affiliations available

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