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Is Poverty Reduction Over-Stated in Uganda? Evidence from Alternative Poverty Measures
Authors: Lisa Daniels, and Nicholas Minot
Source: Social Indicators Research, 121(1): 115-133; DOI: 10.1007/s11205-014-0637-3
Topic(s): Poverty
Country: Africa
Published: MAR 2015
Abstract: Uganda has experienced high economic growth rates over the past decade, averaging 5.4 % per year, while poverty rates have declined over 14 % points over 2002–2003 and 2009–2010. However, conventional wisdom is that the benefits of poverty reduction have not been distributed equally and some authors even question the large decline in poverty. This paper seeks to examine poverty trends across Uganda from 1995 to 2010 by using non-monetary indicators based on household assets, housing characteristics, and household size and composition. In a variation on poverty mapping methods, we select household characteristics that are available in four Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and the 2005–2006 Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS). Using the UNHS data, we estimate household per capita expenditure as a function of these characteristics. Finally, these estimated equations are applied to the same characteristics from the DHS data to generate estimates of per capita expenditure, which are then converted to estimates of the incidence of poverty. The results confirm that the overall incidence of poverty has declined in Uganda over the past 15 years, but they show less progress than official expenditure-based estimates of poverty. We explore several explanations for this discrepancy.