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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Rural Ethiopians who lack access to a few basic (non-food) wage goods are defined as ‘most deprived’. Like many other extremely vulnerable Africans, they derive little benefit from donor and government policies claiming to reduce poverty. They may continue to be ignored if underfunded official statistical agencies publish reports that do not accurately reflect their experience, or if the impact of policy interventions on the bottom 10 per cent can be obscured by fashionably complex indices of poverty. A case is made here for more rigorous statistical monitoring of rural real wages; and for prioritizing investments that improve the employment prospects of women dependent on agricultural wage labour. It is argued that a low-cost Simple Deprivation Index can identify poorly educated agricultural wage labourers as members of the ‘most deprived’ households. These households also contain children who are at risk from the cumulative consequences of inadequate nutrition and schooling.

Keywords: wages, employment, deprivation, gender, education, nutrition, surveys, indices

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