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Deon Filmer

Bio: Deon Filmer is an academic researcher from World Bank. The author has contributed to research in topic(s): Poverty & Population. The author has an hindex of 43, co-authored 148 publication(s) receiving 18682 citation(s). Previous affiliations of Deon Filmer include World Bank Group & International Monetary Fund.


Papers
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TL;DR: This work estimates the relationship between household wealth and children’s school enrollment in India by constructing a linear index from asset ownership indicators, using principal-components analysis to derive weights, and shows that this index is robust to the assets included, and produces internally coherent results.
Abstract: The relationship between household wealth and educational enrollment of children can be estimated without expenditure data. A method for doing so - which uses an index based on household asset ownership indicators - is proposed and defended in this paper. In India, children from the wealthiest households are over 30 percentage points more likely to be in school than those from the poorest households, although this gap varies considerably across states. To estimate the relationship between household wealth and the probability that a child (aged 6 to 14) is enrolled in school, Filmer and Pritchett use National Family Health Survey (NFHS) data collected in Indian states in 1992 and 1993. In developing their estimate Filmer and Pritchett had to overcome a methodological difficulty: The NFHS, modeled closely on the Demographic and Health Surveys, measures neither household income nor consumption expenditures. As a proxy for long-run household wealth, they constructed a linear asset index from a set of asset indicators, using principal components analysis to derive the weights. This asset index is robust, produces internally coherent results, and provides a close correspondence with data on state domestic product and on state level poverty rates. They validate the asset index using data on consumption spending and asset ownership from Indonesia, Nepal, and Pakistan. The asset index has reasonable coherence with current consumption expenditures and, more importantly, works as well as - or better than - traditional expenditure-based measures in predicting enrollment status. The authors find that on average a child from a wealthy household (in the top 20 percent on the asset index developed for this analysis) is 31 percent more likely to be enrolled in school than a child from a poor household (in the bottom 40 percent). This paper - a product of Poverty and Human Resources, Development Research Group - is part of a larger effort in the group to inform educational policy. The study was funded by the Bank`s Research Support Budget under the research project Educational Enrollment and Dropout (RPO 682-11).

4,612 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, a method for estimating the effect of household economic status on educational outcomes without direct survey information on income or expenditures is proposed and defended, which uses an index based on household asset ownership indicators.
Abstract: This paper has an empirical and overtly methodological goal. The authors propose and defend a method for estimating the effect of household economic status on educational outcomes without direct survey information on income or expenditures. They construct an index based on indicators of household assets, solving the vexing problem of choosing the appropriate weights by allowing them to be determined by the statistical procedure of principal components. While the data for India cannot be used to compare alternative approaches they use data from Indonesia, Nepal, and Pakistan which have both expenditures and asset variables for the same households. With these data the authors show that not only is there a correspondence between a classification of households based on the asset index and consumption expenditures but also that the evidence is consistent with the asset index being a better proxy for predicting enrollments--apparently less subject to measurement error for this purpose--than consumption expenditures. The relationship between household wealth and educational enrollment of children can be estimated without expenditure data. A method for doing so - which uses an index based on household asset ownership indicators- is proposed and defended in this paper. In India, children from the wealthiest households are over 30 percentage points more likely to be in school than those from the poorest households.

4,421 citations

01 Sep 2003
TL;DR: The World Development Report (WDR) 2004 warns that broad improvements in human welfare will not occur unless poor people receive wider access to affordable, better quality services in health, education, water, sanitation, and electricity as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: The World Development Report (WDR) 2004 warns that broad improvements in human welfare will not occur unless poor people receive wider access to affordable, better quality services in health, education, water, sanitation, and electricity. Without such improvements, freedom from illness and from illiteracy, two of the most important ways poor people can escape poverty, will remain elusive to many. This report builds an analytical and practical framework for using resources, whether internal or external, more effectively by making services work for poor people. The focus is on those services that have the most direct link with human development, education, health, water, sanitation, and electricity. This presents an enormous challenge, because making services work for the poor involves changing, not only service delivery arrangements, but also public sector institutions, and how foreign aid is transferred. This WDR explores the many dimensions of poverty, through outcomes of service delivery for poor people, and stipulates affordable access to services is low especially for poor people in addition to a wide range of failures in quality. The public responsibility is highlighted, addressing the need for more public spending, and technical adjustments, based on incentives and understanding what, and why services need to be improved. Thus, through an analytical framework, it is suggested the complexity of accountability must be established, as well as instruments for reforming institutions to improve services, illustrated through various case studies, both in developing, and developed countries. The report further outlines that scaling up reforms means sectoral reforms must be linked to ongoing or nascent public sector reforms, in areas such as budget management, decentralization, and public administration reform, stimulated through information as a catalyst for change, and as an input to prod the success of other reforms.

1,150 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Deon Filmer1, Lant Pritchett1
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors used household survey data from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) from 44 surveys (in 35 countries) to document different patterns in the enrollment and attainment of children from rich and poor households.
Abstract: The authors use household survey data from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) from 44 surveys (in 35 countries) to document different patterns in the enrollment and attainment of children from rich and poor households. They overcome the lack of income or expenditure data in the DHS by constructing a proxy for long-run wealth of the household from the asset information in the surveys, using the statistical technique of principal components. There are three major findings. First, the enrollment profiles of the poor differ across countries but fall into distinctive regional patterns: in some regions the poor reach nearly universal enrollment in first grade, but then drop out in large numbers leading to low attainment (typical of South America), while in other regions the poor never enroll in school (typical of South Asia and Western/Central Africa). Second, there are enormous differences across countries in the “wealth gap,” the difference in enrollment and educational attainment of the rich and poor. While in some countries the difference in the median years of school completed of the rich and poor is only a year or two, in other countries the wealth gap in attainment is 9 or 10 years. Third, the attainment profiles can be used as diagnostic tools to suggest issues in the educational system, such as the extent to which low attainment is attributable to physical unavailability of schools.

830 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Deon Filmer1, Lant Pritchett1
TL;DR: Cross-national data is used to examine the impact of both public spending on health and non-health factors (economic, educational, cultural) in determining child (under-5) and infant mortality, finding that whereas health spending is not a powerful determinant of mortality, 95% of cross-national variation in mortality can be explained by a country's income per capita.
Abstract: We use cross-national data to examine the impact of both public spending on health and non-health factors (economic, educational, cultural) in determining child (under-5) and infant mortality. There are two striking findings. First, the impact of public spending on health is quite small, with a coefficient that is typically both numerically small and statistically insignificant at conventional levels. Independent variation in public spending explains less than one-seventh of 1% of the observed differences in mortality across countries. The estimates imply that for a developing country at average income levels the actual public spending per child death averted is $50,000-100,000. This stands in marked contrast to the typical range of estimates of the cost effectiveness of medical interventions to avert the largest causes of child mortality in developing countries, which is $10-4000. We outline three possible explanations for this divergence of the actual and apparent potential of public spending. Second, whereas health spending is not a powerful determinant of mortality, 95% of cross-national variation in mortality can be explained by a country's income per capita, inequality of income distribution, extent of female education, level of ethnic fragmentation, and predominant religion.

698 citations


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Book
01 Jan 1998

9,675 citations

Posted Content
TL;DR: This work estimates the relationship between household wealth and children’s school enrollment in India by constructing a linear index from asset ownership indicators, using principal-components analysis to derive weights, and shows that this index is robust to the assets included, and produces internally coherent results.
Abstract: The relationship between household wealth and educational enrollment of children can be estimated without expenditure data. A method for doing so - which uses an index based on household asset ownership indicators - is proposed and defended in this paper. In India, children from the wealthiest households are over 30 percentage points more likely to be in school than those from the poorest households, although this gap varies considerably across states. To estimate the relationship between household wealth and the probability that a child (aged 6 to 14) is enrolled in school, Filmer and Pritchett use National Family Health Survey (NFHS) data collected in Indian states in 1992 and 1993. In developing their estimate Filmer and Pritchett had to overcome a methodological difficulty: The NFHS, modeled closely on the Demographic and Health Surveys, measures neither household income nor consumption expenditures. As a proxy for long-run household wealth, they constructed a linear asset index from a set of asset indicators, using principal components analysis to derive the weights. This asset index is robust, produces internally coherent results, and provides a close correspondence with data on state domestic product and on state level poverty rates. They validate the asset index using data on consumption spending and asset ownership from Indonesia, Nepal, and Pakistan. The asset index has reasonable coherence with current consumption expenditures and, more importantly, works as well as - or better than - traditional expenditure-based measures in predicting enrollment status. The authors find that on average a child from a wealthy household (in the top 20 percent on the asset index developed for this analysis) is 31 percent more likely to be enrolled in school than a child from a poor household (in the bottom 40 percent). This paper - a product of Poverty and Human Resources, Development Research Group - is part of a larger effort in the group to inform educational policy. The study was funded by the Bank`s Research Support Budget under the research project Educational Enrollment and Dropout (RPO 682-11).

4,612 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: A Treatise on the Family by G. S. Becker as discussed by the authors is one of the most famous and influential economists of the second half of the 20th century, a fervent contributor to and expounder of the University of Chicago free-market philosophy, and winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize in economics.
Abstract: A Treatise on the Family. G. S. Becker. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 1981. Gary Becker is one of the most famous and influential economists of the second half of the 20th century, a fervent contributor to and expounder of the University of Chicago free-market philosophy, and winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize in economics. Although any book with the word "treatise" in its title is clearly intended to have an impact, one coming from someone as brilliant and controversial as Becker certainly had such a lofty goal. It has received many article-length reviews in several disciplines (Ben-Porath, 1982; Bergmann, 1995; Foster, 1993; Hannan, 1982), which is one measure of its scholarly importance, and yet its impact is, I think, less than it may have initially appeared, especially for scholars with substantive interests in the family. This book is, its title notwithstanding, more about economics and the economic approach to behavior than about the family. In the first sentence of the preface, Becker writes "In this book, I develop an economic or rational choice approach to the family." Lest anyone accuse him of focusing on traditional (i.e., material) economics topics, such as family income, poverty, and labor supply, he immediately emphasizes that those topics are not his focus. "My intent is more ambitious: to analyze marriage, births, divorce, division of labor in households, prestige, and other non-material behavior with the tools and framework developed for material behavior." Indeed, the book includes chapters on many of these issues. One chapter examines the principles of the efficient division of labor in households, three analyze marriage and divorce, three analyze various child-related issues (fertility and intergenerational mobility), and others focus on broader family issues, such as intrafamily resource allocation. His analysis is not, he believes, constrained by time or place. His intention is "to present a comprehensive analysis that is applicable, at least in part, to families in the past as well as the present, in primitive as well as modern societies, and in Eastern as well as Western cultures." His tone is profoundly conservative and utterly skeptical of any constructive role for government programs. There is a clear sense of how much better things were in the old days of a genderbased division of labor and low market-work rates for married women. Indeed, Becker is ready and able to show in Chapter 2 that such a state of affairs was efficient and induced not by market or societal discrimination (although he allows that it might exist) but by small underlying household productivity differences that arise primarily from what he refers to as "complementarities" between caring for young children while carrying another to term. Most family scholars would probably find that an unconvincingly simple explanation for a profound and complex phenomenon. What, then, is the salient contribution of Treatise on the Family? It is not literally the idea that economics could be applied to the nonmarket sector and to family life because Becker had already established that with considerable success and influence. At its core, microeconomics is simple, characterized by a belief in the importance of prices and markets, the role of self-interested or rational behavior, and, somewhat less centrally, the stability of preferences. It was Becker's singular and invaluable contribution to appreciate that the behaviors potentially amenable to the economic approach were not limited to phenomenon with explicit monetary prices and formal markets. Indeed, during the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, he did undeniably important and pioneering work extending the domain of economics to such topics as labor market discrimination, fertility, crime, human capital, household production, and the allocation of time. Nor is Becker's contribution the detailed analyses themselves. Many of them are, frankly, odd, idiosyncratic, and off-putting. …

4,568 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, a method for estimating the effect of household economic status on educational outcomes without direct survey information on income or expenditures is proposed and defended, which uses an index based on household asset ownership indicators.
Abstract: This paper has an empirical and overtly methodological goal. The authors propose and defend a method for estimating the effect of household economic status on educational outcomes without direct survey information on income or expenditures. They construct an index based on indicators of household assets, solving the vexing problem of choosing the appropriate weights by allowing them to be determined by the statistical procedure of principal components. While the data for India cannot be used to compare alternative approaches they use data from Indonesia, Nepal, and Pakistan which have both expenditures and asset variables for the same households. With these data the authors show that not only is there a correspondence between a classification of households based on the asset index and consumption expenditures but also that the evidence is consistent with the asset index being a better proxy for predicting enrollments--apparently less subject to measurement error for this purpose--than consumption expenditures. The relationship between household wealth and educational enrollment of children can be estimated without expenditure data. A method for doing so - which uses an index based on household asset ownership indicators- is proposed and defended in this paper. In India, children from the wealthiest households are over 30 percentage points more likely to be in school than those from the poorest households.

4,421 citations

Posted Content
David Dollar1, Aart Kraay1
TL;DR: Dollar and Kraay as mentioned in this paper found that the share of income accruing to the bottom quintile does not vary systematically with the average income, and that when average incomes rise, the average incomes of the poorest fifth of society rise proportionately.
Abstract: When average incomes rise, the average incomes of the poorest fifth of society rise proportionately. This holds across regions, periods, income levels, and growth rates. But relatively little is known about the broad forces that account for the variations across countries and across time in the share of income accruing to the poorest fifth. When average incomes rise, the average incomes of the poorest fifth of society rise proportionately. This is a consequence of the strong empirical regularity that the share of income accruing to the bottom quintile does not vary systematically with average income. Dollar and Kraay document this empirical regularity in a sample of 92 countries spanning the past four decades and show that it holds across regions, periods, income levels, and growth rates. Dollar and Kraay next ask whether the factors that explain cross-country differences in the growth rates of average incomes have differential effects on the poorest fifth of society. They find that several determinants of growth - such as good rule of law, openness to international trade, and developed financial markets - have little systematic effect on the share of income that accrues to the bottom quintile. Consequently, these factors benefit the poorest fifth of society as much as everyone else. There is some weak evidence that stabilization from high inflation and reductions in the overall size of government not only increase growth but also increase the income share of the poorest fifth in society. Finally, Dollar and Kraay examine several factors commonly thought to disproportionately benefit the poorest in society, but find little evidence of their effects. The absence of robust findings emphasizes that relatively little is known about the broad forces that account for the cross-country and intertemporal variation in the share of income accruing to the poorest fifth of society. This paper - a product of Macroeconomics and Growth, Development Research Group - is part of a larger effort in the group to study growth and poverty reduction. The authors may be contacted at ddollar@worldbank.org or akraay@worldbank.org.

3,297 citations