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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Title Is the wealth index a proxy for consumption expenditure? A systematic review
Volume 63
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2009
Page numbers 871-877
URL http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2009/04/29/jech.2009.088021.full.pdf
Background: Many epidemiological studies require a measure of socio-economic position. The monetary measure preferred by economists is consumption expenditure; the wealth index has been proposed as a reliable, simple alternative to expenditure and is extensively used. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of the agreement between wealth indices and consumption expenditure, summarising the agreement and exploring factors affecting agreement. Results: 17 studies using 36 datasets met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 22 demonstrated weak agreement, 10 moderate agreement, and four strong agreement. There was some evidence that agreement is higher: in middle-income settings; in urban areas; for wealth indices with a greater number of indicators, and for wealth indices including a wider range of indicators. Conclusions: The wealth index is mostly a poor proxy for consumption expenditure.

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