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To impute or not to impute, and how? A review of alternative poverty

Working Paper 2019-507


There is an increasingly stronger demand for more frequent and accurate poverty estimates, despite the oftentimes unavailable household consumption data. We review imputation methods that have been employed to provide poverty estimates in such data-scarce contexts. These range from estimates on a non-monetary basis, estimates for specific project targeting or tracking trends at the national level, to estimates at a more disaggregated level, and estimates of poverty dynamics. We provide a concise synthesis, which serves as an introduction to the literature. We focus on intuition and practical insights that highlight existing methods’ nuanced differences rather than their technical aspects.

Authors: Hai-Anh H. Dang.

Keywords: poverty, imputation, consumption, wealth index, synthetic panels, household survey.
JEL: C15, I32, O15.