Absolute vs relative poverty : what do people think?

Poverty, Resource Equality and Social Policies

In a recent post on the blog, we presented Martin Ravallion‘s discussion of absolute and relative poverty.  In a nutshell, an absolute poverty measurement counts an individual as poor if her consumption lies below some level of deprivation associated with what is viewed as “basic needs”.  On the other hand, relative poverty measurements consider that an individual is poor if she is sufficiently disadvantaged as compared with other individuals in her country or region.

There exists a vivid debate between advocates of absolute and relative conceptions of poverty. Which notion of poverty should prevail — if any — is still an open question among researchers. Now, choosing between absolute and relative poverty notably involves value judgments about what a decent life is, and scholar should certainly not monopolize the debate. At the political level, this choice requires a healthy democratic debate. As any decision process requiring a public deliberation…

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