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Parallel Realities: Exploring Poverty Dynamics using Mixed Methods in Rural Bangladesh Peter Davis and Bob Baulch. All photos in this presentation © 2008 Peter Davis. Introduction. In poverty research, different methods often lead to different findings

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Parallel Realities:Exploring Poverty Dynamics using Mixed Methods in Rural BangladeshPeter Davis and Bob Baulch

All photos in this presentation © 2008 Peter Davis


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Introduction

  • In poverty research, different methods often lead to different findings

  • In the study of poverty dynamics differences may be magnified

  • Differences in findings can lead us to:

    • critically assess methods

    • mix methods strategically to strengthen research findings

    • attempt to uncover drivers of change more reliably

    • and therefore be able to suggest more effective interventions


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The focus of this presentation

  • What can we learn by integrating quantitative and qualitative assessments of socio-economic mobility of the same individuals and households?

  • The implications of these lessons for:

    • poverty-dynamics research

    • interventions to reduce chronic poverty


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The CPRC-DATA-IFPRI Bangladesh longitudinal study

  • The study combined three IFPRI evaluations which started in 1994, 1996 and 2000/03, and used a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods

  • In 2006-7 we resurveyed the entire set of these households (plus new households created due to household division ) in three phases (qual-quant-qual)


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The 2006-7 Study’s 3 Phases

3 phases of data collection:

  • Summer 2006: focus group discussions investigating causes of decline and improvement and the long term impact of 3 interventions (116 FGDs in 11 districts)

  • Winter 2006-7: quantitative resurvey of panel households (1787 core + 365 splits in 14 districts)

  • Spring-Summer 2007: life-history interviews and village histories in 8 districts (161 households – 293 individuals)


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Map of the Study Sites

Life-history districts (number of interviews)

Nilphamari (38)

Kurigram (39)

Tangail (39)

Mymensingh (18)

Kishoreganj (19)

Manikganj (72)

Jessore (36)

Cox’s Bazar (32)



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Methods used to assess poverty transitions 1) Quantitative: transition matrices based on per capita expenditures and the BBS upper poverty lines2) Qualitative: Changes in individual well-being levels


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Transition matrix(from per capita expenditures)


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Transition matrix(from well-being levels)



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Exploring the ‘mismatches’ Dynamics

  • Cases where per capita expenditure does not accurately reflect the economic wealth of the household

    • Asset-based transitions have more matches


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1. Expenditure an imperfect indicator of wealth Dynamics Classifying quant transitions using land assets halves the mismatches


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Box 1: Expenditure is an imperfect indicator of wealth Dynamics (qual PP: quant NN)

  • Circumstances:

  • Woman (57)

  • Sold land to live while husband ill - died in 1980

  • Lives with son (29) working as a mason

  • Son injured 1996-2001

  • 4 decimals of land owned

  • Own illness since 2004


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Exploring the ‘mismatches’ Dynamics

  • Expenditure is an imperfect indicator of wealth

    • Asset-based transitions have more matches

  • Cases where households’ expenditures are close to the poverty line in either, or both, survey rounds.

    • High numbers of households near the poverty lines mean small changes in expenditure can cause transitions


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2. Proximity to poverty lines: Dynamics Distribution of per capita expenditures and poverty lines

Agricultural Technology Sites


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1994 2007 Dynamics

Per cap. Expenditure 796 690

Poverty line (BBS) 547 877

Household members 3 4

Land owned (decimals) 13 3

Box 3: Proximity to poverty lines(qual PP quant NP)

  • Circumstances:

  • Man 26

  • Married in 1996

  • Split from parents in 2001

  • Lives with wife and 2 daughters

  • Only one household member the same as in 1994

  • Day labourer

  • Own one cow


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Exploring the ‘mismatches’ Dynamics

  • Expenditure is an imperfect indicator of wealth

    • Asset-based transitions have more matches

  • Proximity to poverty lines

    • High numbers of households near the poverty lines mean small changes in expenditure can cause poverty transitions

      3. Non-monetary aspects of ill-being were not detected in the expenditure-based measurement

      -domestic violence, disability, illness, or vulnerability


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Box 4: Non-monetary aspects of illbeing not detected Dynamics (qual PP but quant PN)

Circumstances

  • Man (45) living with his wife (36), 2 daughters, 2 sons

  • Drives a van gari

  • One disabled daughter

  • Own chronic illness since 2002

  • Dowry problems for eldest daughter


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Exploring the ‘mismatches’ Dynamics

  • Expenditure is an imperfect indicator of wealth

    • Asset-based transitions have more matches

    • Liberal spenders versus frugal spenders

  • Proximity to poverty lines

    • High numbers of households near the poverty lines mean small changes in expenditure can cause transitions

      3. Non-monetary aspects of ill-being were not detected in the expenditure based measurement

      -domestic violence, disability, illness, or vulnerability

      4. Cases where changes in household size (often due to a ‘split’) led to changed household economies of scale


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Box 5: mismatch caused by diseconomies of scale Dynamics qual PP but quant PN

Circumstances

  • Woman (56) living with her husband (64)

  • Income from selling snacks

  • 10 decimals of homestead land,12 trees

  • 2 daughters and 3 sons separated

  • Land sold to pay for daughter’s dowries


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Exploring the ‘mismatches’ Dynamics

  • Expenditure is an imperfect indicator of wealth

    • Asset-based transitions have more matches

    • Liberal spenders versus frugal spenders

  • Proximity to poverty lines

    • High numbers of households near the poverty lines mean small changes in expenditure can cause transitions

      3. Cases where some non-monetary aspects of ill-being were not detected in the expenditure based measurement (such as the impact of domestic violence, disability, illness, or vulnerability)

      4. Cases where changes in household size (often due to a ‘split’) led to changed household economies of scale

      5. Cases where recall errors affected qualitative assessments




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Lessons from integration Dynamics

  • Movement across monetary poverty lines can happen with little tangible change in people’s well-being

  • Various types of vulnerability are not visible in standard quantitative approaches

  • Including assets helps to improve assessments

  • Studying individuals and households over long periods adds to the conceptual and methodological complications of poverty measurement

  • With new challenges to understand the impact of global changes on the chronically poor, we need reliable mixed-methods approaches to poverty dynamics


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Some conclusions Dynamics

  • Movements out of poverty are usually slow - declines can be fast and irreversible

  • People move out of poverty

    • by building up assets (land, livestock etc.) business, agriculture, educated children working, employment and remittances

  • People moving out of poverty are still vulnerable

    • food prices, loss of income, illness, dowry

  • Better understanding of the crises and opportunities poor people face assists in prioritising and rationalising anti-poverty interventions and enhancing social protection


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The end ... Dynamics

...but work continues...


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