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Living Standards, Inequality And Poverty Around The World, 1815-2015: A New Household Budget Approach
Brian A'Hearn, Giovanni Vecchi

Last modified: 2015-09-05

Abstract


The Historical Household Budgets (HHB) project aims to rewrite the history of inequality and poverty over the last two centuries, and to make that history international. Existing accounts perch on a narrow evidentiary base: few countries, few indicators (often proxies), short time frames, poor comparability across sources and countries, unrepresentative groups such as the top 1 percent. We argue that household budgets can put the study of historical trends in poverty and inequality on a more solid footing. If one knows where to look, historical family budgets are more abundant than might be suspected. And statistical techniques have been developed to handle the associated problems of small, incomplete, and unrepresentative samples. HHB is creating a harmonised database of household budgets that will permit accurate, comparable, and multidimensional estimates of inequality and poverty for countries around the world

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