Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 621–664 | Cite as

Premature mortality and poverty measurement in an OLG economy

  • Mathieu Lefèbvre
  • Pierre Pestieau
  • Gregory PonthiereEmail author
Original Paper


Following Kanbur and Mukherjee (Bull Econ Res 59(4):339–359 2007), a solution to the “missing poor” problem (i.e., selection bias in poverty measures due to income-differentiated mortality) consists in computing hypothetical poverty rates while assigning a fictitious income to the prematurely dead. However, in a dynamic general equilibrium economy, doing “as if” the prematurely dead were still alive is likely to affect wages, output and capital accumulation, with an uncertain effect on poverty. We develop a three-period OLG model with income-differentiated mortality and compare actual poverty rates with hypothetical poverty rates that would have prevailed if everyone faced the survival conditions of the top income class. Including the prematurely dead has an ambiguous impact on poverty, since it affects income distribution through capital dilution, composition effects, and horizon effects. Our results are illustrated by quantifying the impact of income-differentiated mortality on poverty measures for France (1820–2010).


Income-differentiated mortality Poverty measures Missing poor OLG models Capital accumulation 

JEL Classification

E13 E21 I32 



The authors would like to thank A. Cigno and two anonymous referees for their helpful suggestions and comments on this paper.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mathieu Lefèbvre
    • 1
  • Pierre Pestieau
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Gregory Ponthiere
    • 5
    • 4
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.BETAUniversity of StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance
  2. 2.University of LiegeLiegeBelgium
  3. 3.CORELouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  4. 4.Paris School of EconomicsParisFrance
  5. 5.University Paris East (ERUDITE)ParisFrance
  6. 6.Institut universitaire de FranceParisFrance

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