Notes (Chapter 6)
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- The wealth index is based on five sub-indices:
- A Income generating capital goods;
- Consumer durables which have a status display function because they
usually are allocated in the "public" sphere of the house;
- 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);
- A crude value assessment of the family house; and finally,
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- See Table A.6.5 and Table A.6.6 in the Household Economy Appendix for
further references to the discussion in this section.
- See Table A.6.7 in the Household Economy Appendix for further references
to the discussion in this section.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- See Table A.6.14 in the Household Economy Appendix for further references
to the discussion in this section.