Robust comparisons of socio-economic well-being
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis
This body of research presents robust approaches for measuring and comparing socio-economic well-being across distributions, and stresses the importance of the need for more accurate statistical inference. It contains six separate, but closely related research papers categorized into two broad themes: Theme 1: Income-based well-being indicators (Paper 1A ,Paper1B, and Paper1C), and Theme 2: Multidimensional well-being indicators (Paper 2A, Paper 2B, and Paper 2C). Theme 1 research papers develop asymptotic frameworks for comparing inequality and poverty using income as the well-being indicator. Paper 1A and Paper 1B contribute to the economics literature by providing an alternative, and in some cases, more powerful way to undertake hypothesis testing on income distributions that does not require the derivation of complex covariance structures. Paper 1C develops the asymptotic framework for comparing poverty between distributions that share a common relative poverty line — it is argued that this approach permits for more valid comparisons as opposed to alternate approaches which assume separate poverty lines for each distribution. Theme 2 research papers go beyond material standard of living, and examine well-being in a more generalized multidimensional setting using objective as well as subjective welfare indicators. Paper 2A and Paper 2B utilizes the data-driven technique of stochastic dominance efficiency to assess the equal-weightingschemesofSavetheChildrenUK’sChildDevelopmentIndexandOECD’s Better Life Index,which are two composite indices used for monitoring policy and making cross-country comparisons. Paper 2C examines well-being with respect to the labour market. Inspired by international literature, over 20 indicators are utilized to assess job quality in Canada, an OECD country for which a comprehensive job quality study has not been done in the past. Paper 2C fills this gap in the literature and contributes to Canadian labour policies with respect to precarious work.
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