ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Fractions versus Whole Numbers

Poverty comparisons across variable populations present certain fundamental difficulties, particularly in respect of the most "basic" of poverty measures, those related to some headcount of the poor. The most commonly employed headcount measures are the headcount ratio H and the aggregate headcount A. Each of these indices has its respective merits and disadvantages. In this note, a composite headcount index M*, which combines H and A, is presented. The poverty ranking of income distributions by M* attaches some weight to the ranking by each of H and A, and thereby avoids the possibly extreme judgment of either in isolation.

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