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

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Identifying BPL Households

A Comparison of Methods

Exercises to identify households living below the poverty line have taken place three times, and a fourth one is under way. Though the latest method aims to improve upon previous methods, its empirical implications and precise justification are not yet clear. This paper empirically examines the Socio-Economic Caste Census methodology and compares it empirically with alternative proposals to show the choice of a particular methodology matters. It also points out how state-level BPL poverty caps will vary if they reflect multiple deprivations such as malnutrition and housing rather than only expenditure-based poverty rates.

We are grateful to Jean Drèze, Himanshu, Reetika Khera, Rinku Murgai, K L Datta and Abhijit Sen for comments on previous versions of this draft. All errors remain our own.

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