Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation

By Amartya Sen | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
Poverty: Identification and Aggregation

3.1
COMMODITIES AND CHARACTERISTICS

It was argued in the last chapter that the measurement of poverty can be split into two distinct operations, viz. the identification of the poor, and the aggregation of their poverty characteristics into an over-all measure. The identification exercise is clearly prior to aggregation. The most common route to identification is through specifying a set of 'basic' -- or 'minimum' -- needs,1 and regarding the inability to fulfil these needs as the test of poverty. It was claimed in the last chapter that considerations of relative deprivation are relevant in specifying the 'basic' needs, but attempts to make relative deprivation the sole basis of such specification is doomed to failure since there is an irreducible core of absolute deprivation in the concept of poverty. Within the general perspective that was presented in the last chapter, some detailed -- and more technical -- issues are taken up in this chapter before moving from identification to aggregation.

Are the basic needs involved in identifying poverty better specified in terms of commodities, or in terms of 'characteristics'? Wheat, rice, potatoes, etc., are commodities, while calories, protein, vitamins, etc., are characteristics of these commodities that the consumers seek.2 If each characteristic could be obtained from only one commodity and no others, then it would be easy to translate the characteristics needs into commodity needs. But this is very often not the case, so that characteristics requirements do not specify commodity requirements. While calories are necessary for survival, neither wheat nor rice is.

____________________
1
The literature on basic needs is vast. For some of the main issues involved, see ILO ( 1976a, 1976b), Haq ( 1976), Jolly ( 1976), Stewart and Streeten ( 1976), Beckerman ( 1977), Bhalla ( 1977), Ghai, Khan, Lee and Alfthan ( 1977), Streeten ( 1977), Balogh ( 1978), Griffin and Khan ( 1978), Perkins ( 1978), Singh ( 1978), and Streeten and Burki ( 1978). On related issues, see also Adelman and Morris ( 1973), Chenery, Ahluwalia, Bell, Duloy and Jolly ( 1974), Morawetz ( 1977), Reutlinger and Selowsky ( 1976), Drewnowski ( 1977), Grant ( 1978), Chichilnisky ( 1979), Morris ( 1979), and Fields ( 1980).
2
For analyses of consumer theory in terms of characteristics, see Gorman ( 1956, 1976), and Lancaster ( 1966).

-24-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 257

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.