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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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On Ultrapoverty *

On Ultrapoverty *

Chapter:
(p.311) Chapter 17 On Ultrapoverty*
Source:
Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya Sen
Author(s):

Sudhir Anand (Contributor Webpage)

Christopher Harris

Oliver Linton

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239115.003.0018

Lipton (1983) defined an individual to be ‘ultrapoor’ if and only if: (i) his calorie intake falls below 0.8 of the intake appropriate for his age, sex, and activity group; and (ii) his foodshare exceeds 0.8. of the appropriate foodshare. This chapter evaluates Lipton's concept of ultrapoverty. This is done by relating it to the well-established welfare indicator ‘total expenditure’, on the one hand, and to a wide range of housing and other non-monetary indicators on the other. The chapter agues that: (i) while calorie intake does contain important poverty information, it contains less poverty information than total expenditure; and (ii) foodshare contains very little poverty information. Hence, neither of the components of Lipton's double criterion is, on its own, a good criterion for poverty. It further argues that while the double 0.8 (or ‘double-eighty’) criterion may have some merits over each of its components, it is nonetheless inferior to a poverty criterion based simply on total expenditure. A particular feature of the analysis is the chapter's use of non-parametric methods to assess the local strength of the association between calorie intake and foodshare, respectively, against total expenditure.

Keywords:   ultrapoverty, poverty, undernourishment, calorie intake, foodshare, double-eighty criterion, total expenditure per capita, welfare indicator, Lipton

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