PAPER: Disability and Poverty: A Survey of World Bank Poverty Assessments and Implications

Posted on 4 March 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Cross-Disability, Poverty | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The World Bank Group has released a new paper entitled “Disability and Poverty: A Survey of World Bank Poverty Assessments and Implications,” by Jeanine Braithwaite and Daniel Mont.

The paper surveys World Bank poverty assessment literature on the relationship between disability and poverty. It finds that it is difficult to accurately assess the link between disability and poverty because household surveys on consumption (used to assess consumption-based poverty) frequently don’t ask about the disability status of household members.

Also, it is difficult to define or measure “disability.” For example, simply asking if people are disabled misses many disabled people because they may wish to avoid the stigma of disability. Or,some people may assume that “disability” necessarily refers only to significant impairments. These people might not bother to report mild or moderate impairments.

Another complication in poverty and disability research is that many existing surveys do not account for the fact that people with disabilities have different consumption needs than other people. For example, they might need to spend income on Braille, wheelchairs, or other items that non-disabled people do not need. The money spent on these items diverts income from other consumption that could raise the living standards of the household. Thus, a disabled person with the same income as a non-disabled person may actually be poorer.

The authors suggest directions for further research into disability and poverty.

The full, 32-page paper can be downloaded in PDF format (250 Kb) at:

We Can Do learned about this paper via contacts within the World Bank.

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