Poverty

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Abstract:

Avoiding material hardship is a primary objective of social policy, sometimes made explicit though a constitutional right to a decent standard of living. However, perceptions of "a decent standard of living" vary across countries and over time. Hence no commonly agreed measure of poverty across OECD countries exists. As with income inequality, the starting point for poverty measurement is equivalised household disposable income provided by national consultants (see "Definition and measurement" under EQ1. Income inequality). People are classified as poor when their equivalised household income is less than half of the median prevailing in each country. The use of a relative income‐threshold means that richer countries have the higher poverty thresholds. Higher poverty thresholds in richer countries capture the notion that avoiding poverty means an ability to access to the goods and services that are regarded as "customary" in any given county.

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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