Notes (Chapter 6)

  1. The economic transition presently taking place in the occupied territories, which entails that the traditional subsistence economy is gradually being replaced by a market economy, may in the long run also challenge the traditional structure of authority in economic matters within the households. In particular, access to the Israeli labour marked has enabled many young males to establish their own economic base beyond the direct control of the Head of Household, thus challenging his superiority in such questions.
  2. Non-intentional under-reporting of economic resources is also widespread. Particularly women's and children's work is usually not considered as economic activity, even when considered as such according to survey definitions. For a further discussion of this problem, se the section about women's work in the employment chapter.

    The relatively high number of local and foreign organizations providing material support to the population also encourages under-reporting of economic resources. Some respondents may regard it as in their interest to paint their economic situation in dark colours, in order to be entitled to social benefits.

  3. Wealth or net fortune may be split into real and finance capital. Real capital is composed of (physical) capital goods and consumer durables, while finance capital can be defined as the net balance between financial savings and debt. The two types of wealth each pose their characteristic measurement problems. In contrast to finance capital, real capital can to a large extent be observed. Value assessment of reported items is, however, more problematic for real capital than finance capital. The survey made a crude value assessment of real capital by asking when the item was bought and whether the items were bought new or used. The outbreak of the intifada was chosen as time reference because of its strong impact on people's minds.

    The real capital a household dispose of reflects both the household's past consumption priorities and its contemporary level of economic resources. Different types of real capital have different depreciation rates and liquidity, (i.e. ability to be transformed into other types of resources). Some types of real capital like machinery, cars or land also have productive potential, and may thus reflect development of sources of income as well as development of consumption habits.

    Non-productive real capital items like consumer durable may be classified according to their potential as status symbols, their liquidity, or by their user value for different types of household members. The user value of a consumer durable is not necessarily dependent on its age or liquidity. It is for example reasonable to assume that refugee camp dwellings, even if formally rented from UNRWA, represent the same user value for residents as privately owned houses of similar standard. The relationship between user value of consumer durable and household composition is also not always clear-cut. The number of persons in a household may have great influence on individual user value of for example a house of a given size, but not for the user value of a colour television set. Different types of consumer durables, for example kitchen amenities, may have different user value for men and women.

  4. The wealth index is based on five sub-indices:
    1. A Income generating capital goods;
    2. Consumer durables which have a status display function because they usually are allocated in the "public" sphere of the house;
    3. Consumer durables which particularly relieve women of manual housework (but have limited value as status symbols as they are allocated in the "private" sphere of the house);
    4. A crude value assessment of the family house; and finally,
    5. The balance of household debt and savings.

    For each of the five sub-indices, the population of households has been divided into three equal-sized groups as for the (aggregate) household wealth index. Finally, the latter index has been constructed from a weighted sum of the five sub-indexes.

    As an indication of the properties of the five sub-indexes it should be mentioned that while the first and the third sub-index referred to above show greater variation than the aggregate wealth index over most regions and groups, the second, fourth and fifth sub-indexes yield less variation than the aggregate index.

    The relationship between user value and household composition, the amount and types of consumer durables in a household are likely to increase over time, and thus likely to be particularly low for newly established households like recently married couples living alone.

  5. Results for the distribution of the household wealth index by region and socio-economic group are presented in Table A.6.1, Table A.6.2, Table A.6.3 and Table A.6.4 in the Household Economy Appendix.
  6. The northern part of Gaza, however, also includes Shatti Refugee Camp which has the lowest score on household wealth among all areas included in the survey.
  7. See Table A.6.5 and Table A.6.6 in the Household Economy Appendix for further references to the discussion in this section.
  8. See Table A.6.7 in the Household Economy Appendix for further references to the discussion in this section.
  9. See Table A.6.8, Table A.6.9, Table A.6.10, Table A.6.11 and Table A.6.12 in the Household Economy Appendix for further references to the discussion in this section.
  10. See Table A.6.11, Table A.6.12 and Table A.6.13 in the Household Economy Appendix for further references to the discussion in this section.
  11. There is likely to be a high number of under-reporting for remittances. While 20% of the households had close contact with relatives abroad, only 8% say they have received remittances. This difference, is however, not only caused by under-reporting, but also by the high number of Palestinian workers losing jobs in the Gulf countries after the 1991 Gulf War.
  12. See Table A.6.14 in the Household Economy Appendix for further references to the discussion in this section.

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