Poverty Line: Eight Countries' Experiences and the Issue of Specificity and Consistency

Publication | February 2001

This paper aims to revive the discussion about two practical issues of poverty line estimation; specificity or relevance and consistency or comparability

'Specificity or relevance' of a poverty line refers to the extent to which the poverty line could reflect the specific characters of an area. 'Consistency or comparability' concerns with the ability of the poverty lines to indicate comparable level of 'welfare' across space and time. The paper presents eight countries' experiences in deriving their poverty lines. It particularly pays attention to the above two issues. It finds that, in constructing poverty lines, countries follow various approaches: some countries give more weight to the 'relevance' than to 'comparability', while others explicitly aim to have more comparable poverty lines. In practice, there could be a trade-off between the two aspects of poverty measurement, and the choice rests on the country and on the purpose of measuring poverty.


  • Introduction
  • Standard Approaches in Deriving (Absolute) Poverty Lines
  • Specificity or Relevance Versus Consistency or Comparability
  • Countries' Experiences
  • Why is the Choice of Approaches Important?
  • Concluding Remark
  • References
  • Appendixes

Additional Details

  • Poverty

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