Journal Article
Using Functionings to Estimate Equivalence Scales

Equivalence scales are used to enable welfare comparisons across heterogeneous households. In this paper, we propose to use the achievement of a certain level of functioning as the identifying assumption for the derivation of equivalence scales. This will allow us not only to deal with welfare comparisons between households of different size and composition, but will also enable us to incorporate other characteristics (such as location and employment status) in the creation of equivalence scales for welfare comparisons. The paper applies this approach to create equivalence scales for the functioning “shelter” using Belgian and Italian data. The analysis shows that the income differences associated with different characteristics only play a small role in explaining differences in functionings. An important policy message is therefore that compensating people for functioning shortfalls in monetary terms may not be sensible.

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Corresponding publications
Working Paper | What Money Can't Buy