La mal-mesure de la pauvreté

ROME – Début 2012, le Président sortant de la Banque mondiale Robert Zoellick a annoncé comme Objectif du Millénaire pour le Développement la diminution de moitié la pauvreté dans le monde par rapport à son niveau de 1990 avait été réalisé en 2010, soit avec cinq ans d'avance sur le programme. Mais de nombreux analystes ont mis en doute les estimations fondées sur le seuil de pauvreté actuel de la Banque mondiale, qui a augmenté en 2008 de 1 dollar à 1,25 dollar par jour, en termes de parité de pouvoir d'achat (PPA).

Les critiques soutiennent que pour des raisons méthodologiques, le seuil de pauvreté fondé sur le PPA dénature la prévalence de la pauvreté dans le monde. Par exemple, les trois tours du Programme de Comparaison Internationale (PCI) de la Banque mondiale qui se sont tenus jusqu'à présent ont chacun défini différemment le seuil de pauvreté, ce qui souligne le peu de pertinence de la mesure actuelle. En fait, si l'on tient compte de l'inflation aux Etats-Unis, le seuil de pauvreté a dû augmenter à 1,45 dollar par jour en 2005.

Améliorer les estimations de la pauvreté mondiale (celles de la Banque mondiale s'étendent sur trois décennies, à partir de 1981) nécessite de surmonter trois problèmes majeurs : les données d'enquête insuffisantes, les défauts dans l'exécution de l'enquête et les erreurs de conversions du PPA. Malheureusement l'approche de la Banque mondiale a éludé ces questions ou les a traitées selon une mauvaise méthode.

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