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Poverty, Richness, and Inequality: Evidence for Portugal Using a Housing Comfort Index

Fernandes, Cristina and Crespo, Nuno and Simoes, Nadia (2013): Poverty, Richness, and Inequality: Evidence for Portugal Using a Housing Comfort Index.

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Abstract

With data for Portugal we propose an index of housing comfort based on the Household Budget Survey. This index covers housing and durable goods grouped in two dimensions: basic comfort and complementary comfort. Taking this index as starting point we make two contributions. First we quantify the phenomena of poverty, richness, and inequality in housing comfort. Second, using an ordered probit model, we evaluate the determinants of housing comfort in Portugal. The results show significant rates of poverty (12.41%) and richness (22.03%). The evidence sustains that the differences between households derive mainly from complementary comfort and to a lesser extent from basic comfort items. Inequality in housing comfort, measured by the Gini coefficient, stands at 0.1263. The econometric study reveals that the region of residence of the household and the educational level and labor market state of the household reference person are among the most critical determinant factors of housing comfort.

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