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Advanced Poverty Analysis
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Course Theme:
Course Format:Facilitated
Time Commitment:20 hours per week for 4 weeks
Amount:US $ 0 (Course is free of charge)
Contact Name:Vasumathi Rollakanty
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April 07, 2014 - May 02, 2014
Application Ends On : April 01, 2014
Here is a listing of the ten modules, with short descriptions of each.

Module 1: Measuring Poverty
In this module we review the traditional approach to measuring poverty – using expenditure or income to track welfare, establishing a poverty line, and summarizing the information in the form of an index of poverty. Among the practical issues discussed are how to use sampling weights, the use of equivalence scales, and the robustness of measures of poverty.

Module 2. Multidimensional Poverty
It has long been recognized that poverty is not just, or even, a shortage of income. The inclusion of other dimensions of poverty is becoming popular, but raises its own challenges, which are discussed in this module. In this module we also discuss the correlates of poverty.

Module 3. Poverty Dynamics
It is frequently important to measure the evolution of poverty over time. This can be done with repeated cross-sections or, usually more precisely, with panel data. Only panel data allow one to measure the extent to which households transition into and out of poverty.

Module 4. Panel Data
Although panel data are indispensable for measuring poverty transitions, and chronic poverty, there are significant costs to collecting and using panel data. The arguments are reviewed in this module.

Module 5. Inference with Panel Data
In principle, panel data allow one to make more precise inferences about the evolution of poverty; and to use difference-in-difference techniques when assessing the impact of a policy or program. These more technical applications of panel data are discussed in this module, and bring us closer to an understanding of the determinants of poverty.

Module 6. International Poverty Comparisons over Time
How much has poverty declined worldwide over the past generation?We review the World Bank approach to measuring the evolution of world poverty and evaluate the criticisms of this work. This module includes a case study of how the 2008-09 recession affected poverty in Thailand.

Module 7. Vulnerability to Poverty
At any given moment, more people are afraid of falling into poverty – i.e. they are vulnerable – than are actually poor. We explain how vulnerability may be measured, and what policies might be appropriate for addressing this problem.

Module 8. Approaches to Tackling Poverty
Essential as it is to measure poverty carefully, and understand its causes, most policy is forward-looking. We want to know what to do, and whether our efforts work. This module reviews some of the more important programs (such as microcredit, vaccinations, insurance, and conditional cash transfers), asks how one might evaluate these efforts, and asks to what extent randomized controlled trials can further our understanding of their impact.

Target Audience:
  • Staff in advisory units – within government departments, or in external “think tanks” or NGOs – who are routinely called upon to comment on poverty-related issues, and who need to be able to use household survey data to answer such questions, including preparing Poverty Reduction Strategy papers, or Poverty and Vulnerability assessments.
  • Staff in government statistics offices, who may be familiar with gathering and summarizing household survey data, but need more exposure to the analysis of poverty.
  • University faculty, especially those who are venturing into the field of poverty analysis and who need an introduction to the subject strong enough to allow them to pursue further research independently.
  • Graduate students who seek greater exposure to the methods used to measure, define, and analyze poverty.