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Parallel realities: exploring poverty dynamics using mixed methods in rural Bangladesh

Peter Davis
Bob Baulch


In this paper we explore the implications of using two different methodological approaches to study poverty dynamics in rural Bangladesh. Using data from a unique mixed-methods longitudinal study of rural households, we focus on how different methods lead to very different assessments of socio-economic mobility, in particular movements into and out of poverty. We discuss the reasons why qualitative and quantitative assessments of poverty dynamics for the same households differ and suggest five ways of reconciling these differences: using assets in addition to expenditures, considering proximity to the poverty line, and examining non-monetary aspects of well-being, household division, and qualitative recall errors. Using assets in addition to expenditures and taking account of proximity to thepoverty line resolves three-fifths of the qualitative and quantitative mismatches we observe, with the other three explanations accounting for another eighth of the mismatches. Finally we discuss how the validity and reliability of the empirical findings from poverty dynamics research can be improved by using an integrated mixed-methods approach.

Publication Type(s)

CPRC Working Paper


poverty dynamics Bangladesh rural data methodology

ISBN: 978-1-906433-43-7


1 Parallel realities PDF 768.0 KB

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