TIP Curves

Tip curves are graphical devices that visually illustrate poverty across multiple dimensions. When plotted, a Three “I”s of Poverty (TIP) curve looks similar to an inverse version of the more recognizable Lorenz curve. Developed by Stephen P. Jenkins, professor of economics and social policy at the London School of Economics, and Peter J. Lambert, professor of economics at the University of Oregon, the concept was first published in their 1997 article, “The Three ‘I’s of Poverty Curves, with an Analysis of U.K. Poverty Trends.” The three I’s stood for incidence, intensity, and inequality.


Incidence is represented by the length of the TIP curve’s nonhorizontal section. Operationalized, incidence is the poverty rate of a given population, or the share of the population whose income is below the ...

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