A test of Sen's entitlement hypothesis

P. McGregor, I. Cantley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The entitlement approach to the analysis of famine stresses the importance of the distribution of endowments. By assuming that an individual's food entitlement was a simple function of his landholding and given that landholdings were distributed lognormally in pre-Famine Ireland, it is possible to derive the functional form of the entitlement distribution. For each administrative area in Ireland we can determine the probability that an individual selected at random is in distress and from this the proportion in distress through a binomial process - the distress function. The data consist of the proportion of an area's population that was starving and the estimated parameters of the landholding distribution. Sen's analysis can be presented as a series of restrictions upon the distress function to ensure that it is derived from a probability density. The parameters of the function were estimated using a modified minimum chi-squared estimator with the asymptotic standard errors of the coefficients estimated via the information matrix. The results broadly support Sen's approach though a more detailed analysis of the dynamics of the model are called for. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-341
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability


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