Discussion paper

DP14059 “Too young to die”. Deprivation measures combining poverty and premature mortality

Most measures of deprivation concentrate on deprivation among the living population and, thus, ignore premature mortality. This omission leads to a severe bias in the evaluation of deprivation. We propose three different measures that combine information on poverty and premature mortality of a population in a meaningful manner. These indices are consistent and satisfy a number of desirable properties unmet by all other measures combining early mortality and poverty. Moreover, these measures are readily computable with available data and easily interpretable. We show that omitting premature mortality leads to an underestimation of total deprivation in 2014 of at least 30% at the world
level. We also show that the ranking in terms of deprivation of countries is substantially changed with our measures, and that our nderstanding of the evolution of countries’ deprivation may be reversed when taking premature mortality into account.


Baland, J, B Decerf and G Cassan (2019), ‘DP14059 “Too young to die”. Deprivation measures combining poverty and premature mortality‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 14059. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp14059