Once measures of welfare have been defined, a poverty line established, and poverty/inequality measures selected (see section on Measuring Poverty), the analysis of poverty and its determinants can be undertaken. Various tools are available for this analysis, from simple descriptions and tabulations (poverty profile), to regression analysis of poverty determinants, and further techniques to compare poverty profiles over time or across areas.
A review of these tools and techniques is provided in Ravallion (1992), Coudouel et al. (2002), and in Learning Materials from the World Bank Institute. This page is a summary of Coudouel et al. Please refer to the document, its technical notes, and its bibliography, also available in the highlight box, for further details.
Click on the corresponding subtopic in the left navigation menu to find information on:
Comparing characteristics of individuals/households in different poverty groups
Comparing poverty between groups
Comparing poverty over time
Analyzing the correlates of poverty
When comparing poverty, inequality, and vulnerability, it is important to test whether the observed differences in characteristics between different poverty groups, or the differences in poverty incidence between specific groups or over time are statistically significant. (See Issues under the 'Measuring Poverty' section for a discussion of issues of comparability between different surveys, sampling issues, etc.)
This page mainly focuses on quantitative measures. Qualitative techniques help in understanding household behavior, and the interpretation of quantitative results can be complemented, triangulated, and enriched with qualitative work. Qualitative techniques have been used to analyze, amongst other things:
Household participation in informal networks;
Patterns in household income and consumption, and in particular, seasonal variations;
People’s perceptions of poverty and vulnerability;
The strategies put in place by households to reduce their vulnerability to income changes
In the latter case, it is important to see whether households engage in depletive strategies—when they sell their productive assets, diversify their income sources to reduce the probability of income changes; reduce their consumption in case of income change; or manage to find new means to increase their income—for instance by changing their labor supply. (See Qualitative data for more information.)
Back to Poverty Analysis Home