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A Test of Sen's Entitlement Hypothesis

Pat McGregor and Ian Cantley
Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series D (The Statistician)
Vol. 41, No. 3, Special Issue: Conference on Applied Statistics in Ireland, 1991 (1992), pp. 335-341
Published by: Wiley for the Royal Statistical Society
DOI: 10.2307/2348558
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2348558
Page Count: 7
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A Test of Sen's Entitlement Hypothesis
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Abstract

The entitlement approach to the analysis of famine stresses the importance of the distribution of endowments. By assuming that an individual's food entitlement was a simple function of his landholding and given that landholdings were distributed lognormally in pre-Famine Ireland, it is possible to derive the functional form of the entitlement distribution. For each administrative area in Ireland we can determine the probability that an individual selected at random is in distress and from this the proportion in distress through a binomial process--the distress function. The data consist of the proportion of an area's population that was starving and the estimated parameters of the landholding distribution. Sen's analysis can be presented as a series of restrictions upon the distress function to ensure that it is derived from a probability density. The parameters of the function were estimated using a modified minimum chi-squared estimator with the asymptotic standard errors of the coefficients estimated via the information matrix. The restrictions were tested by comparing the constrained and unconstrained minimum chi-square statistic. The results broadly support Sen's approach though a more detailed analysis of the dynamics of the model are called for.

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