Mery Ferrando - Essays on Income, Education and Intra-household Poverty and Inequality

ESPO Louvain-La-Neuve, Mons

23 août 2018



B - 135 (CORE)

Le Recteur de l'Université catholique de Louvain fait savoir que 


soutiendra publiquement sa dissertation pour l'obtention du titre de Docteur en sciences Economiques et de gestion

« Essays on Income, Education and Intra-household Poverty and Inequality».

This thesis speaks to the broad literature studying poverty and inequality issues. It presents novel contributions that cover a wide range of topics, from poverty measurement to determinants of inequality that have been overlooked in the past. In Chapter 1, jointly with Benoit Decerf, we explore the consequences of measuring income poverty in a way that balances absolute and relative aspects by the use of a weight parameter. We develop new theoretical results to estimate the degree of robustness of poverty evaluations to this weight parameter. We apply these developments to study poverty under unequal growth in the US and find two main results. First, our measure concludes that poverty has decreased over the most recent period of unequal growth, in line with the official absolute measure. Second, poverty judgments are largely robust to the choice of the weight parameter. In Chapter 2, jointly with Véronique Gille, we focus on an unexplored potential mechanism behind a reduction in the race gap in education in the US. Specifically, we evaluate the effect of the election of the first black state governor in the history of the US on black students from the same state. We find a sizeable increase in the probability of getting a high school diploma for black relative to white teenagers in Virginia and other states, which cannot be fully explained by policy changes. Finally, Chapter 3 evaluates how the individual valuation of goods that are jointly consumed within a household can affect poverty and inequality measures. I use consumer data to estimate the marginal willingness to pay for joint consumption by gender within Belgian couples. My findings indicate that women get less utility from public goods than men. This suggests that inequality and in particular female poverty are larger than when we ignore these differences in the valuation of joint consumption.

Membres du jury :                                                                                         

Professeur François Maniquet (UCL), promoteur

Professeure Muriel Dejemeppe (UCL), présidente du jury

Professeur William Parienté (UCL), secrétaire du jury

Professeur Olivier Bargain (Université de Bordeaux)

Professeur Frederic Vermeulen (KU Leuven)