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Who are the Poor in Malaysia? The Sensitivity of Poverty Profiles to Definition of Income

Michael W. Kusnic and Julie DaVanzo
Population and Development Review
Vol. 8, Supplement: Income Distribution and the Family (1982), pp. 17-34
Published by: Population Council
DOI: 10.2307/2808104
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2808104
Page Count: 18
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Who are the Poor in Malaysia? The Sensitivity of Poverty Profiles to Definition of Income
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Abstract

Income inequality and ethnic differnces in income are important political issues in Malaysia. This paper uses 1976-1977 data on over 1,000 households in Peninsular Malaysia to show that estimates of the extent of income inequality and of the relative incidence of poverty are sensitive to several dimensions of income measurement. For example, when the definition of income is broadened to include nonmarket sources, inequality falls and the relative position of rural Malays improves. However, standardizing to remove variations in hours of work increases estimates of the proportion of rural Malays who are poor.

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