ERIC Number: EJ858832
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Deconstructing European Poverty Measures: What Relative and Absolute Scales Measure
Burkhauser, Richard V.
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, v28 n4 p715-725 Fall 2009
Forster and d'Ercole (2009) outline the dominant method of conceptualization and operationalization of European poverty measures that informed the EU in its development of the questionnaire for the European Union--Survey of Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC). They do so in the context of their explanation of how the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) tracks its individual member country poverty rates and trends, including those in the United States, in its latest cross-national comparative study of poverty, "Growing Unequal? Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries" (OECD, 2008). Maquet and Stanton (2009), in their discussion of official EU member state poverty rates using EU-SILC, show that the measurement concepts outlined by Forster and d'Ercole (2009) are, with minor differences, the same as the ones used by the EU in their official poverty statistics. What is surprising is that, for the most part, the U.S. Census Bureau uses similar data and methods to measure U.S. poverty rates, but with a fundamental difference that has important implications for those interested in cross-national comparisons of poverty and the methods used to alleviate it in the U.S. and the EU. That difference is not the one most commonly associated with European and U.S. poverty line measurement issues--that one is an absolute measure and the other relative. In this article, the author uses the expositional model of Forster and d'Ercole (2009) to more systematically compare and contrast EU and U.S. poverty measurement methods and the implications they have for understanding the fundamental differences between them.
Descriptors: Poverty, Measures (Individuals), Measurement Techniques, Comparative Analysis, Statistical Data, Demography, Foreign Countries
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States