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


Howe, LD; Hargreaves, JR; Gabrysch, S; Huttly, SR; (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 0143-005X DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/jech.2009.088021

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: 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. METHODS: A systematic review was conducted of the agreement between wealth indices and consumption expenditure, summarising the agreement and exploring factors affecting agreement. RESULTS: 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. CONCLUSIONS: The wealth index is mostly a poor proxy for consumption expenditure.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Academic Services & Administration > Academic Administration
Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Social and Environmental Health Research
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- ) > Dept of Nutrition and Public Health Interventions Research (2003-2012)
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- )
Research Centre: Centre for Evaluation
Tropical Epidemiology Group
Centre for Maternal, Reproductive and Child Health (MARCH)
PubMed ID: 19406742
Web of Science ID: 270726800004
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/589002

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