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Three eyes on Malawi poverty: A comparison of quantitative and subjective wellbeing assessments

Tsoka, Maxton (2011) Three eyes on Malawi poverty: A comparison of quantitative and subjective wellbeing assessments. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This dissertation aims at improving the official measurement of wellbeing in Malawi by proposing the incorporation of popular understanding of wellbeing. The objective is to reduce targeting errors that come due to differences in the understanding of wellbeing and poverty between those that identify the poor (villagers) and those who evaluate the quality of the targeting (experts). The dissertation compares the official measure of household wellbeing (consumption expenditure) against subjective measures of wellbeing (self and peers assessments) that are applied on the same households at the same time. Four comparisons are made; household rankings, poverty rates, households determined as poor, and characteristics of poor households. The comparisons determine similarities and differences and, where different, whether the characteristics unique to subjective assessments can be incorporated in the official wellbeing assessment. The dissertation finds that the three assessments are not similar, although there are some overlaps. The ranking of the households based on consumption expenditure is significantly different from that based on peers-assessment. Likewise, poverty rates for three assessments are different. While some households identified as poor are the same, these are less than discordant households. In terms of characteristics, some are common in all the three assessments while some features associated with subjective assessments are absent in the official wellbeing assessment system. An assessment of the absent features shows that it is possible to improve the official assessment without radical changes. Modifications can be made in data collection and analysis, and wellbeing profiling. In particular, qualitative aspects of wellbeing like type and frequency of meals, food security, quality and quantity of clothing would improve the relevance of the operational definition of poverty. Likewise, wellbeing profiling that includes subjective wellbeing assessment is likely to resonate with what is on the ground.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Social Policy and Social Work (York)
Depositing User: Mr Maxton Tsoka
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2012 12:15
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:48
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2073

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