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Conceptions of Poverty Comparing classifications of people. Mariano Rojas FLACSO-México & UPAEP New Directions in Welfare Economics, Paris July 6-8, 2011. Concepts and Conceptions. Concept A vague and general idea An umbrella concept Conception Substance given to the concept

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conceptions of poverty comparing classifications of people

Conceptions of PovertyComparing classifications of people

Mariano Rojas

FLACSO-México & UPAEP

New Directions in Welfare Economics, Paris July 6-8, 2011

concepts and conceptions
Concepts and Conceptions
  • Concept
        • A vague and general idea
        • An umbrella concept
  • Conception
        • Substance given to the concept
        • A specific understanding
        • Historical and regional
        • May change over time and across cultures
concepts and conceptions1
Concepts and Conceptions
  • Conceptions and its measurement
    • Easy task for concrete single human attributes
          • Height, Weight, Hunger, Pain, Frustration, Failure
    • Difficult task for non-concrete and multiple human attributes
        • Constructed
      • This is the case of poverty, as well as progress, democracy and others
the poor to identify or to classify
The Poor: To Identify or to Classify?
  • To identify: An incorrect approach
    • Suggests
          • A concrete human attribute
          • A true figure out there
          • An attribute which is independent of the researcher/classifier
          • Correct and incorrect measurements
            • Measurements can be evaluated; How close is it to the true figure?
the poor to identify or to classify1
The Poor: To Identify or to Classify?
  • To classify people as poor
      • There is no true figure
      • There is no concrete rate to contrast criteria to
      • There is a classifier: classifying people as poor
      • The classifier: selecting the conception
          • Constructed areas of social concern
relevance of the conception
Relevance of the Conception
  • The relevance of the conception
      • Who ends up being classified as poor?
      • Who is subject or beneficiary of pubic policy
      • What kind of public policy is required
      • How achievements in public policy are assessed?
    • A different issue
      • Does it matters to people?
conceptions of poverty
Conceptions of Poverty
  • The approach
      • Presumption, Imputation, Subjective
      • Theoretically driven (Presumption)
      • Normatively driven (Imputation)
      • Subjective well-being driven (People’s well-being report)
conceptions of poverty1
Conceptions of Poverty
  • Income (Theory - Economic)
            • Income, Assets
  • Capabilities (Normative - Imputation)
            • Instruments
  • Multidimensional (Theory and Imputation)
            • Housing condition, Hunger
  • Experienced (Subjective well-being)
            • Life satisfaction, life evaluation, affective state
measurements of poverty
Measurements of Poverty
  • The measurement
      • Variables chosen
            • Risk: conceptualization must come first
            • Avoid conceptualizing on the basis of measurement
  • Defining thresholds
      • Arbitrary, many options, robustness
measurement of poverty
Measurement of Poverty
  • Mexican survey
      • Representative
      • 2000 observations
      • 2 central states
  • Income
      • Household per capita income
      • Threshold: US$ 2 dollars per day
measurement of poverty1
Measurement of Poverty
  • Capabilities
      • Short version of CMP (Anand and colleagues’) instrument
      • Principal components
      • Threshold: one StdDev beneath mean
  • Multidimensional
      • Mexico’s definition
          • Housing condition, Hunger, working benefits
      • Thresholds
          • As defined by Mexico’s social evaluation institute
measurement of poverty2
Measurement of Poverty
  • Experienced
      • Based on subjective well-being
      • Different understandings: substrate of information
          • Life satisfaction, life evaluation, affects
      • Threshold:
          • Bottom of the scale
comparing conceptions of poverty
Comparing Conceptions of Poverty
  • No time to argue in favor of a conception
      • Just to show that the issue is of relevance
  • Dissonances and consonances
      • Do we end up classifying the same people as poor?
        • To Classify ≠ To identify
conclusion
Conclusion
    • Theconceptionmatters
    • Great dissonancesin theclassification of people as poor
  • Conception precedes measurement
    • Furtherdiscussionontheconception
    • Poverty as low/lack of well-being
      • Whatiswell-being?
      • How do weknowit?
      • Whoistheauthoritytoassessit and onwhatbasis?
conclusion1
Conclusion
  • The classifier matters
          • We are notidentifyingthepoor, we are classifyingpeople as poor
          • Choosing and arguing about conceptions, methodologies and methods
    • Study of the classifier
          • Motivations
          • Selection of classification criteria: conception
          • Incentives
          • Biases:
              • Disciplinary compartmentalization
              • Perspectivism, ethnocentricism
              • Focus of interest, attention
              • Universalism