Is the wealth index a proxy for consumption expenditure? A systematic review.


Howe, L D; Hargreaves, J R; Gabrysch, S; Huttly, S R A; (2009) Is the wealth index a proxy for consumption expenditure? A systematic review. Journal of epidemiology and community health, 63 (11). pp. 871-7. ISSN 1470-2738

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Abstract

Many epidemiological studies require a measure of socioeconomic position. The monetary measure preferred by economists is consumption expenditure; the wealth index has been proposed as a reliable, simple alternative to expenditure and is extensively used. A systematic review was conducted of the agreement between wealth indices and consumption expenditure, summarising the agreement and exploring factors affecting agreement. Seventeen studies using 36 datasets met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 22 demonstrated weak agreement, 10 moderate agreement, and four strong agreement. There was some evidence that agreement is higher: in middle-income settings; in urban areas; for wealth indices with a greater number of indicators; and for wealth indices including a wider range of indicators. The wealth index is mostly a poor proxy for consumption expenditure.

Item Type: Article
PubMed ID: 19406742
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/19720

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