Analysing poverty in the European Community

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Policy issues, research options and data sources: Papers presented at the seminar "Poverty statistics in the European Community", Noordwijk, October 1989
Population and social conditions
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ANALYSING POVERTY
IN THE
EUROPEAN COMMUNITY
Policy issues, research options
and data sources
(Papers presented at the seminar
'Poverty statistics in the European Community')
Eurostat News
Special edition
1-1990 eurostat
OFICINA ESTADÍSTICA DE LAS COMUNIDADES EUROPEAS
DE EUROPÆISKE FÆLLESSKABERS STATISTISKE KONTOR
STATISTISCHES AMT DER EUROPÄISCHEN GEMEINSCHAFTEN
ΣΤΑΤΙΣΤΙΚΗ ΥΠΗΡΕΣΙΑ ΤΩΝ ΕΥΡΩΠΑΪΚΩΝ ΚΟΙΝΟΤΗΤΩΝ
STATISTICAL OFFICE OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES
OFFICE STATISTIQUE DES COMMUNAUTÉS EUROPÉENNES
ISTITUTO STATISTICO DELLE COMUNITÀ EUROPEE
BUREAU VOOR DE STATISTIEK DER EUROPESE GEMEENSCHAPPEN
SERVIÇO DE ESTATÍSTICA DAS COMUNIDADES EUROPEIAS
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Encomendas: serviços de venda cujos endereços estão indicados na contracapa. ANALYSING POVERTY
IN THE
EUROPEAN COMMUNITY
Policy issues, research options
and data sources
(Papers presented at the seminar
'Poverty statistics in the European Community')
Edited by:
Rudolf Teekens
Bernard M. S. van Praag
Eurostat News
Special edition
1-1990 Cataloguing data can be found at the end of this publication
Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1990
Catalogue number: CA-AB-90-007-EN-C
© ECSC-EEC-EAEC, Brussels · Luxembourg, 1990
Reproduction is authorized, except for commercial purposes, provided the source is acknowledged.
Printed in Belgium TABLE of CONTENTS:
Preface
PARTI: POLICY ISSUES
Opening Address
Honning Christophersen 3
The Efforts and Expectations of the Community in the Area of
Statistical Knowledge of Poverty
Mme. Vosso Papandreou 5
Poverty Statistics and European Policy Demands
Graham Room 11
PARTII: RESEARCH ISSUES
Poverty, Statistics and Progress in Europe
Anthony B. Atkinson 27
Methodological Issues in International Comparisons of Poverty:
An Analysis of the United States
Pamela Smith and Barbara Wolfe 45 Field Problems Posed by Statistics on Poverty in France:
Proposals for Improvement and Examples of Operations
Jean-Louis F aure 95
Low Income Groups Obtained by Enhanced Processing of the Household
Budget Surveys in EC - Summary Figures for Italy and the Netherlands
Anastassios Ghiatis 117
Italian Experience of Harmonized Poverty Measures
Claudio Moriani 139
The Measurement of Poverty in a Comparative Context: Empirical Evidence and
Methodological Evaluation of Four Poverty Lines in Seven EC Countries
Herman Deleeck and Karel van den Bosch 153
Poverty in the EC: Estimates for 1975,1980 and 1985
Michael O'Higgins and Stephen Jenkins 187
Relative and Absolute Poverty in the European Community:
Results from Family Budget Surveys
Rudolf Teekens andAsghar Zaidi 213
Poverty and Inequality in Pakistan, 1984-85
Ivo Havinga, Fritz Haanappel and Adri Louter 251
Panel Research on Poverty in Ireland
Brendan J. Whelan, Brian Nolan and Timothy Callan 289
Trends in Poverty and Low Income in the Federal Republic of Germany
Richard Hauser and Peter Semerau 313 The Measurement of Poverty in Canada
John Evans, Brian Murphy and Michael Wolfson 335
Fiscal Source and/or Interview Survey:
The French Experience Regarding Low Incomes
Jerome Assemat and Michel G laude 371
The Concept and Measurement of Poverty: A Danish Viewpoint
Erik Jørgen Hansen 39
PART III: SYNTHETIC PAPERS and DATA BASE
World Bank Efforts at Poverty Measurement in the Third World:
The Living Measurements Study
PaulGlewwe 411
Use of LIS Data for Poverty Analysis:
An Overview of Lessons Learned and Still Being Learned
Timothy Smeeding 43
Poverty Information from Administrative Statistics
Walter Krug 449
CONCLUSION
Poverty Statistics in the European Community:
Assessment and Recommendations
Robert Haveman 459 Preface
This volume of papers, covering recent progress in applied poverty research, is the result
of the seminar Poverty Statistics in the European Community organized by the Institute of
Social Studies Advisory Service, and the Ersasmus University at the request of Eurostat
and held in Noordwijk, October 1989.
This volume does not focus on high brow theory. Instead we would like to give a reflection
of the practical state of the art. As such the volume is a fortunate blend of economic and
sociological contributions, always intended to yield practically applicable definitions of
poverty and/or empirical counting of the poor. We expect that this volume will also be
useful for the practical policy maker, the civil servant and the interested layman. The field
is obviously politically relevant within the European Community where we steer for
harmonization of social security and social policy and where labour markets merge into
one. This volume shows that there is no unique opinion about various aspects, no
established theories or measures. It gives a lively image of a field of research where one is
seeking answers to basic and pressing questions.
The seminar was held in the year that marked both the end of the Second European
Programme to Combat Poverty and the beginning of a third programme: Medium Term
Action Programme to Foster the Economic and Social Integration of the Least Privileged
Groups. Both programmes are carried out under the responsibility of the Commission of
the European Communities. As the end of the eighties seemed to show an increasing
political awareness of the poverty problem in Europe, it appeared to be the appropriate
moment to evaluate the recent developments in poverty research and their policy relevance.
The Seminar had the following objectives: the identification of information needs of policy
makers and researchers; the identification of major methodological problems and sugges­
tions for solutions; the presentation of appplied poverty research carried out in the context
of the Second European Programme to Combat Poverty and of some other selected research
from European and non-European countries and, finally, the provision to Eurostat (the
Statistical Office of the European Community) of the means to determine the basic elements
for an integrated information system allowing quantification and analysis of poverty in the
Community.
The papers and speeches collected in this volume can be classified into the following
categories: Policy Papers, Research Papers and Synthetic Papers. This volume has been
organized accordingly.
Part I, Policy Issues, accommodates the Opening Address of Mr. Christophersen, Vice-
President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Statistics; the policy state­
ment of Mrs. Papandreou, Commissioner of Social Affairs, and the analytical policy paper
'Poverty Statistics and European Policy Demands' of Professor Room, Head of the
Evaluation Team of the Second Poverty Programme. Part Π, Research Issues, opens with the keynote address 'Poverty, Statistics and Progress
in Europe' by Atkinson, who reviews some recent developments in poverty research,
suggests a number of areas for future research, discusses the choice between a national and
a Community poverty line and the relationship between growth, poverty and economic
policy. The author concludes with some comments on poverty statistics and policy.
Smith and Wolfe give a detailed description of the functioning and the size of the USA
poverty programme. Their paper serves as a yardstick to consider the various programmes
in Europe.
The paper by Faure deals with the issue of survey and sample coverage in the context of a
poverty study for France.
The measurement and analysis of subjective poverty is the topic of two papers by Ghiatis
and Moriani, who deal with case studies forltaly and the Netherlands and apaper by Deleeck
and van den Bosch, which evaluates four different poverty lines in seven Member States.
From their studies it emerges that subjective poverty is a viable concept as they find stable
relationships and no difficulties in sample response. However, it is also seen that various
definitions yield very different outcomes. Research has to be carried out to refine existing
methodologies with a view to international comparability.
In two studies an attempt is made to present country poverty estimates for the European
Community as a whole. O'Higgins and Jenkins use disposable household income as the
instrumental variable for their analysis, whereas Teekens and Zaidi employ household
consumption expenditure. Both papers use equivalence scales. The two studies use a
'relative' poverty definition applied to individual countries, while Teekens and Zaidi
complement this approach with an attempt to derive and apply an 'absolute' poverty
definition for the Community as a whole. The data for the O'Higgins and Jenkins study
were drawn from reports of consultants from the various Member States, whereas the
Teekens and Zaidi paper relied on official family budget survey data.
Problems encountered in poverty measurement in Third World countries are dealt with by
Havinga, Haanappel and Louter who present a case study on poverty and inequality in
Pakistan. The study, based on Family Budget Survey data, reveals that conventional
household groupings are often inadequate for poverty analysis in developing countries.
Whelan, Nolan and Callan give some first results of panel study on Irish data. The paper is
interesting since it devotes particular attention to the problem of persistent poverty over
time. Trends in poverty and low income in the Federal Republic of Germany are analyzed
by Hauser and Semerau. Their study is mainly based on administrative poverty criteria, the
lines defined by eligibility for social assistance.