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Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya SenVolume I: Ethics, Welfare, and Measurement$
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Kaushik Basu and Ravi Kanbur

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199239115

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239115.001.0001

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A Practical Proposal for Simplifying the Measurement of Income Poverty *

A Practical Proposal for Simplifying the Measurement of Income Poverty *

Chapter:
(p.435) Chapter 23 A Practical Proposal for Simplifying the Measurement of Income Poverty*
Source:
Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya Sen
Author(s):

S. Subramanian

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239115.003.0024

The identification problem in the measurement of income poverty is associated with a number of both conceptual and pragmatic difficulties. These difficulties also have implications for the possibility of coherent aggregation. Conceptually sound identification procedures could be hard to implement, while conceptually dubious procedures are misleading. One possible way out of the problem might be to avoid the identification exercise altogether, by resort to a thoroughgoing fuzzy approach to poverty measurement. It can be quite easily shown, as is done in this chapter, that certain well-known ‘exact’ income-based indices of aggregate welfare (including one due to Amartya Sen) can be rationalized as fuzzy poverty measures. Such an approach to poverty measurement is certainly not free of interpretational ambiguity. But it does have simplicity on its side, as well as the fact that extant feasible approaches are also not exempt from conceptual niggles.

Keywords:   identification, aggregation, fuzzy membership function, fuzzy poverty measurement, Sen welfare index, fuzzy approach

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