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Journal Articles Cliometrica Year : 2022

Counting the missing poor in pre-industrial societies


Under income-differentiated mortality, poverty measures suffer from a selection bias: they do not count the missing poor (i.e., persons who would have been counted as poor provided they did not die prematurely). The Pre-Industrial period being characterized by an evolutionary advantage (i.e., a higher number of surviving children per household) of the non-poor over the poor, one may expect that the missing poor bias is substantial during that period. This paper quantifies the missing poor bias in Pre-Industrial societies, by computing the hypothetical headcount poverty rates that would have prevailed provided the non-poor did not benefit from an evolutionary advantage over the poor. Using data on Pre-Industrial England and France, we show that the sign and size of the missing poor bias are sensitive to the degree of downward social mobility.

Dates and versions

hal-03620370 , version 1 (25-03-2022)



Mathieu Lefebvre, Pierre Pestieau, Gregory Ponthiere. Counting the missing poor in pre-industrial societies. Cliometrica, In press, ⟨10.1007/s11698-022-00243-y⟩. ⟨hal-03620370⟩
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