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Poverty DynamicsInterdisciplinary Perspectives$
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Tony Addison, David Hulme, and Ravi Kanbur

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199557547

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199557547.001.0001

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Poverty Measurement Blues

Poverty Measurement Blues

Beyond ‘Q‐squared’ Approaches to Understanding Chronic Poverty in South Africa*

Chapter:
(p.225) 10 Poverty Measurement Blues
Source:
Poverty Dynamics
Author(s):

Andries du Toit

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199557547.003.0010

Discussions about the limits of econometric approaches to understanding poverty are often framed as if the central differences are those between quantitative and qualitative method and as if the key issue up for discussion is the best way of ‘integrating’ them. This chapter argues that it is necessary to go further. It considers the difficulties that arise out of the domination of development studies and poverty research by what is here called the ‘econometric imaginary’: an approach that frames questions of social understanding as essentially questions of measurement. But, although the limitations of the econometric imaginary clearly illustrate the need for qualitative modes of research and understanding, more is needed than various methods of combining or ‘integrating’ qualitative and quantitative approaches, as if these are traditions that can be connected to one another without themselves being transformed or affected; or as if they proceed from a set of underlying assumptions that can seamlessly merge.

Keywords:   poverty assessment, poverty dynamics, econometric imaginary, qualitative research, quantitative research

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