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Contextual issues in the measurement and definition of poverty: Poverty in the rural Philippines

Опубликовано на портале: 19-05-2004
Timothy J. Benner
Научные руководители: Victoria S. Lockwood, Ben J. Wallace
Организация: Southern Methodist University
Подтип: PhD
Тематические разделы: Социология, Экономическая социология, Экономическая социология: Социально-экономическая дифференциация. Бедность, Социальная стратификация

This research aims to examine the measurement and conceptualization of poverty at a local level and to show how poverty is not a monolithic concept, even within one small community. In addition, this dissertation will show how detailed knowledge at the local level can be used to enhance the understanding of state/provincial or national level statistics and be used to help better target poverty alleviation programs toward more vulnerable populations. Finally, I will also discuss peoples' conceptualizations of poverty and how they may affect the implementation of poverty alleviation programs. The goal of this dissertation is to explore the differences in conceptualization of poverty in one rural community and relate these differences to various variables such as age, education, or socioeconomic class. Additionally, I examine how applying different commonly utilized poverty measurement/definition techniques in a rural context play out in defining particular households as impoverished and compare these definitions to an independent measure to evaluate them for accuracy and validity.

The village of Dampig, Ilocos Norte, Philippines is typical of rural villages in this area. The main economic pursuit here is agriculture, supplemented to varying degrees with internal and international migration, animal husbandry, limited non-agricultural labor, transportation, and some small-scale entrepreneurship. These activities are described, then related to different socioeconomic groups. The socioeconomic groups are used to illustrate different patterns of resource exploitation, livelihood diversification, and differences in participation in community social events and leadership. The socioeconomic groups are then compared to poverty lines generated using data collected from Dampig and different, commonly utilized, income-based methodologies to construct poverty lines at national or provincial levels. These methodologies are then evaluated for accuracy and validity in the rural context. Most of the different income-based methods are found to be inaccurate in that they tend to overestimate poverty or inaccurately assign households to the impoverished category. These inaccuracies are then discussed as they apply to issues of policy formation and the implications for poverty alleviation projects. Finally, I discuss local conceptualizations in poverty and the relationship of poverty to environmental degradation. I find that although local conceptualizations form a consensus, there are significant variations within the community in regard to the causes and possible solutions to poverty along lines of education and age. This has implications for the implementation of poverty alleviation programs in terms of identifying possible sources for increased local-level conflict and resistance to program implementation.

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