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Counting the Poor – New Thinking About European Poverty Measures and Lessons for the United States - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Counting the Poor: New Thinking About European Poverty Measures and Lessons for the United States

Douglas J. Besharov and Kenneth A. Couch


The poverty rate is one of the most visible ways in which nations measure the economic well-being of their low-income citizens. To gauge whether a person is poor, European states often focus on a person's relative position in the income distribution to measure poverty while the United States looks at a fixed-income threshold that represents a lower relative standing in the overall distribution to gauge. In Europe, low income is perceived as only one aspect of being socially excluded, so that examining other relative dimensions of family and individual welfare is important. This broad emphasis ... More

Keywords: poverty rate, economic well-being, low-income citizens, family welfare, individual welfare, measures of poverty

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780199860586
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860586.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Douglas J. Besharov, editor
University of Maryland

Kenneth A. Couch, editor
University of Connecticut

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1 Introduction

Douglas J. Besharov and Kenneth A. Couch ■

Part One European Measures of Income, Poverty, and Inequality

2 The OECD Approach to Measuring Income Distribution and Poverty

Michael F. Förster and Marco Mira d’Ercole ■

3 Income Indicators for the EU’s Social Inclusion Strategy

Isabelle Maquet and David Stanton ■

4 Deconstructing European Poverty Measures

Richard V. Burkhauser ■

Part Two Broadening Measures of Income and Other Financial Resources

6 Accounting for Imputed and Capital Income Flows

Joachim R. Frick† and Markus M. Grabka ■

8 Impressionistic Realism

David S. Johnson*■

Part Three Income Levels for Social Assistance and Their Behavioral Effects

10 Social Assistance Schemes in Developing Countries

Margaret Grosh, Carlo del Ninno, and Emil Tesliuc ■

Part Four Nonincome Monetary Measures

12 Asset-Based Measurement of Poverty

Andrea Brandolini, Silvia Magri, and Timothy M. Smeeding ■

Part Five Multidimensional Measures

15 Developing and Learning from EU Measures of Social Inclusion

Eric Marlier, Bea Cantillon, Brian Nolan, Karel Van den Bosch, and Tim Van Rie ■

17 Poverty Redefined as Low Consumption and Low Wealth, Not Just Low Income

Bruce Headey, Peter Krause, and Gert G. Wagner ■

Part Six Conclusion

End Matter