Mangahas, Mahar (2009). The role of civil society in poverty monitoring: the case of the Philippines.
Social Weather Stations (www.sws.org.ph) is a private, non-profit scientific institute that regularly conducts and reports national surveys in the Philippines for the sake of education, conscientization and analysis of social problems and issues. This paper shows that the SWS surveys of households have enabled the Philippines to have the world‘s most rapid system for statistically tracking national poverty (now with 86 observations) and hunger (now with 45 observations) over time. The SWS national surveys, done quarterly, have revealed critical episodes of poverty and hunger, unlike the official surveys done only once i n three years. This paper discusses the methodology of measuring economic deprivation by the bottom-up approach. It shows the measures‘ internal consistency, their relationships to occupation, family size, and assistance to families from government and other sources, and their connections to anti-hunger programs. It advocates incorporation of poverty and hunger in econometric modeling, and points in particular to inflation in general prices and food prices as much more relevant than aggregate economic growth.