Targeting poverty: Lessons from monitoring Ireland's national anti-poverty strategy

R Layte, B Nolan, C T Whelan

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    30 Citations (Scopus)


    In 1997 the Irish government adopted the National Anti-Poverty Strategy (NAPS), a global target for the reduction of poverty which illuminates a range of issues relating to official poverty targets. The Irish target is framed in terms of a relative poverty measure incorporating both relative income and direct measures of deprivation based on data on the extent of poverty from 1994. Since 1994 Ireland has experienced an unprecedented period of economic growth that makes it particularly important to assess whether the target has been achieved, but in doing so we cannot avoid asking some underlying questions about how poverty should be measured and monitored over time. After briefly outlining the nature of the NAPS measure, this article examines trends in poverty in Ireland between 1987 and 1997, Results show that the relative income and deprivation components of the NAPS measure reveal differential trends with increasing relative income poverty, but decreasing deprivation. However, this differential could be due to the fact that the direct measures of deprivation upon which NAPS is based have not been updated to take account of changes in real living standards and increasing expectations. To test whether this is so, we examine the extent to which expectations about living standards and the structure of deprivation have changed over time using confirmatory factor analysis and tests of criterion validity using different definitions of deprivation. Results show that the combined income and deprivation measure, as originally constituted, continues to identify a set of households experiencing generalised deprivation resulting from a lack of resources.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)553-575
    Number of pages23
    JournalJournal of Social Policy
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2000


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