By Jesko Hentschel
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Extra resources for Constructing an indicator of consumption for the analysis of poverty: principles and illustrations with reference to Ecuador
17 Second, dividing the replacement value of a consumer durable by its expected lifespan provided us with a measure of the value of the services provided by the durable per year. Obviously, this measure is quite crude and hinges on households being able to determine how much their goods would be worth today if they bought them new again. 16. In most LSMS surveys the current value of the good is the estimated value of the good in its present condition. Common practice in this case is to estimate depreciation rates and then apply them to this current value.
In welfare measurement, we would ideally want to measure quantity consumed at a constant price, but here the price paid per unit of utility derived from electricity is higher for the heavy users of electricity than for those with low consumption of electricity. From the perspective of welfare rankings, this might not be too disturbing Page 12 because the distribution of nominal expenditures on electricity will essentially only overstate the distribution of welfare from electricity use it is not the case that nominal expenditures give a false ranking of households' consumption of electricity.
Once those markets in which price variations are likely to be large (but cannot be tracked) are identified, the researcher has two choices: either to exclude this expenditure item altogether from the analysis or to impute the quantity consumed, valued at a common price (preferably the value of the true marginal utility). 5 Imputation and shadow pricing, while theoretically appealing, is often methodologically quite complicated. As described below, in the Ecuador case we were compelled to drop health expenditures from our consumption aggregate, but among others we did manage to impute values for water consumption.
Constructing an indicator of consumption for the analysis of poverty: principles and illustrations with reference to Ecuador by Jesko Hentschel