Working Paper
Absolute poverty lines

Private consumption capabilities form only one facet of comprehensive living standards assessments, but they are an important facet whose measurement should be done well. Measurement is complex due to a multitude of methodological choices, which often interact with imperfect data and a desire for comparability through time.

This paper outlines ideas underpinning these choices with particular attention to the tensions between consistency and specificity. We also highlight a series of limitations associated with typical cost of basic needs approaches. Finally, we reaffirm that a ‘sensibly eclectic’ approach, employing multiple methods, is the best available mode for addressing these limitations.