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The Foster–Greer–Thorbecke (FGT) poverty measures: 25 years later


Twenty-five years ago, the FGT class of decomposable poverty measures was introduced in Foster, Greer, and Thorbecke (Econometrica 52:761–776, 1984). The present study provides a retrospective view of the FGT paper and the subsequent literature, as well as a brief discussion of future directions. We identify three categories of contributions: to measurement, to axiomatics, and to application. A representative subset of the literature generated by the FGT methodology is discussed and grouped according to this taxonomy. We show how the FGT paper has played a central role in several thriving literatures and has contributed to the design, implementation, and evaluation of prominent development programs; the breadth of its impact is evidenced by the many topics beyond poverty to which its methodology has been applied. We conclude with a selection of prospective research topics.

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Foster, J., Greer, J. & Thorbecke, E. The Foster–Greer–Thorbecke (FGT) poverty measures: 25 years later. J Econ Inequal 8, 491–524 (2010).

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  • Axioms
  • Decomposability
  • FGT measures
  • Income distribution
  • Poverty
  • Stochastic dominance
  • Subgroup consistency