Female Headed Households and Poverty In LAC: What are We Measuring?

Paola Tami Aritomi, World Bank Group
Analia S Olgiati, Princeton University
Maria Beatriz Orlando, World Bank Group

Measurement issues are increasingly emerging regarding the household head concept. Particularly, large debate is developing concerning its potential poverty policy implications for female headship targeting. This study attempts to explore the actual relationship between female headship and poverty and what is behind different head measures. Data from the Socio-Economic Database for Latin America and the Caribbean (SEDLAC) database are utilized on 19 countries. Using non-parametric stochastic dominance analyses, preliminary results suggest that self-reported female headed households (FHH) are no more likely to be poor than their male counterparts. Comparing FHH poverty across different head measures, outcomes indicate that earning-based FHHs have greater poverty rates in Dominican Republic and Guatemala. Self-reported FHHs show higher poverty risk in Peru. Also, three household head measures are compared using exploratory principal components-factor analyses. Findings evidence that the self-reported measure has lower explanatory value compared to earnings and hours worked measures, particularly among FHH.

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Presented in Poster Session 7