The Unbearable Errorlessness of Global Poverty Estimates

Michail Moatsos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In October 2015 the World Bank initiated the Atkinson Commission on Global Poverty seeking advise on (1) keeping the international poverty line (iPL) constant in real terms, and (2) what else the Bank should make available to complement the dollar-a-day estimates. The Commission's Report bears a set of 21 key recommendations, largely covering the most important voiced worries of the research community over the Bank's methods and estimates. In response the Bank adopted fully and unconditionally only one-out of ten-recommendations regarding point one above, and three-out of nine-recommendations to the second point. In addition the Bank accepted one of the two overarching recommendations. Among the remaining 16 sidelined or partially accepted recommendations lies arguably the most obvious and important one: the urge that the Bank publishes the error terms of its estimates. Without them these estimates are supported by little else other than the administrative authority of the Bank.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalEconomists' Voice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Commission on poverty
  • Global poverty
  • International poverty line
  • Sustainable development goals
  • World bank

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