Normative Standards

The term normative standards refers to both a method of identifying the poor and the moral evaluation of poverty. For research and policymaking, one cannot identify the poor or measure poverty without a concept of poverty. A concept of poverty must include a standard that distinguishes poverty from nonpoverty. Moral standards, also called normative standards, provide criteria for morally evaluating poverty, individual responses to poverty, and the justice of economic systems.

Definition and moral evaluation of poverty are conceptually distinct but closely related. Disagreement regarding poverty policies often arises from implicit moral beliefs about individual and social responses to poverty. Poverty research is rarely value-free. Calling something poverty implies an unacceptable condition, and research seeks knowledge that guides action to change that condition. Further, moral evaluation ...

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