Skip over navigation

Research Program in Development Studies

Measuring Poverty in the World and in India

In the World

This work looks at how to measure poverty, with a particular focus on the poverty counts in the world, particularly the number of people living on less than a dollar (or two dollars) a day. The world poverty counts are constructed by the World Bank, and there are many issues concerning what they mean, whether they are reliable, and whether they might be improved. There has also been recent debate about why there has been so much growth in the world, and so little poverty reduction. The answer to this puzzle lies in deep contradictions between the data sources used to measure growth and those used to measure poverty.

In India

Indian poverty is measured using a series of household surveys, run by India's National Sample Survey (NSS). The results of these surveys have been subject to intense debate in recent years. There are also significant questions about the appropriateness of the poverty lines used by the Government of India. Finally, the Indian consumer price indexes used in the poverty calculations have also been questioned. In a series of papers, Angus Deaton and his collaborators have been addressing these issues.

View related working papers on this subject.