Errores de medición de la pobreza

ROMA – A principios de 2012, Robert Zoellick, presidente saliente del Banco Mundial, anunció que el Objetivo de Desarrollo del Milenio de reducir a la mitad la pobreza mundial con respecto a su nivel de 1990 se había logrado en 2010, cinco años antes de lo fijado. Sin embargo, muchos analistas han cuestionado las estimaciones del Banco Mundial basadas en la actual línea de pobreza, que se había elevado de $1 a $1,25 por día en términos de paridad de poder de compra (PPP).

Los críticos argumentan que, por razones metodológicas, la línea de pobreza basada en la PPP distorsiona su prevalencia en el mundo. Por ejemplo, en cada una de las tres rondas del Programa de Comparación Internacional del Banco Mundial realizadas hasta hoy se ha definido la línea de pobreza de manera diferente, lo que subraya la debilidad de la actual manera de medirla. De hecho, si se toma en cuenta la inflación en los Estados Unidos, la línea de pobreza se debería haber elevado a $1,45 por día en 2005.

Para mejorar las estimaciones globales de pobreza (que, en el caso del Banco Mundial, abarcan tres décadas a contar de 1981) es necesario superar tres problemas de peso: falta de datos de estudios en terreno, errores en la ejecución de los mismos y errores en las conversiones de la PPP. Lamentablemente, el Banco Mundial los ha evadido o abordado de manera inadecuada.

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