Korean Association for Public Administration location:Seoul date:27-29 June 2012
This article estimates the incidence of poverty in Romania during early and late transition, from 1997 to 2005, using grouped distributional data. It compares the estimates obtained with the literature and finds great variation in methodology, estimation parameters, and the size of the estimates across studies. The poverty estimates proposed are broadly in line with the literature for the period 2002-2005 and document a substantial decline in poverty. This is less the case with the estimates for the late 1990s, which suggest that poverty in Romania fluctuated considerably during the period. By bringing to light the underlying differences in the approaches taken in the literature to measure poverty, the paper proposes possible theoretical lenses to explain the complexity of poverty measurement drawing from the policy literature on ‘wicked problems’ and the administrative literature on administrative limits. Lastly, the article proposes questions for further research and argues that two key questions are (i) how much and why an accurate measurement of poverty matters for policy purposes in a transition context and (ii) to what extent the use of different estimation methods influences the poverty estimates obtained.