A framework for the decomposition of poverty differences with an application to poverty differences between countries

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

June 1, 2005


We propose an Oaxaca-Blinder-like decomposition of poverty differences. The decomposition is based on a parametric model of the income distribution and can be used to decompose differences in poverty rates across countries or years. Poverty differences are decomposed into differences in the underlying distribution of poverty-relevant characteristics and differences in the incidence of poverty conditional on these characteristics. We illustrate our method by comparing levels and patterns of relative poverty in the USA, Great Britain and Germany during the 1990s. Our results suggest that the higher aggregate poverty rates in the USA and in Britain relative to Germany were mostly accounted for by higher poverty rates conditional on characteristics, which were partly offset by a more favourable distribution of poverty-relevant characteristics, in particular higher employment rates.

Published in

Empirical Economics

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 30 (2):331-358 , p.331 -358





Albert Sloman Library Periodicals *restricted to Univ. Essex registered users*



Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest