EquityTool: Released November 1, 2016
Updated on February 23, 2017 with a shortened questionnaire
Source data: Egypt DHS 2014
# of survey questions in original wealth index: 50
# of variables in original index: 101
# of survey questions in EquityTool: 12
# of variables in EquityTool: 13
|Question||Option 1||Option 2||Option 3|
|DETERMINE IF THE RESPONDENT LIVES IN AN URBAN OR RURAL AREA||Urban||Rural|
|Q1||Does your household have … a smart phone, i.e., a phone on which the internet can be accessed?||Yes||No|
|Q2||… a telephone (landline)||Yes||No|
|Q3||… a personal home computer (laptop, notebook. tablet, etc.)?||Yes||No|
|Q4||… a water heater?||Yes||No|
|Q5||… an automatic washing machine?||Yes||No|
|Q6||… any other washing machine?||Yes||No|
|Q7||… a tablia (very low round table)?||Yes||No|
|Q8||Does any member of this household own a watch?||Yes||No|
|Q9||How many chickens does your household have?||None||1 or more|
|Q10||What type of dwelling does your household live in?||Apartment||Free standing house||Other|
|Q11||What kind of toilet facility do members of your household usually use?||Flush to piped sewer system||Other type of toilet|
|Q12||What is the main material of the floor in your household?||Ceramic / marble tiles||Other material|
Changes from the previous EquityTool:
Through our standard secondary review process, we found we were able to achieve kappa >= 0.75 with fewer questions than our previously released EquityTool. The previous EquityTool contained 15 questions, while the updated EquityTool uses just 12 questions. If you have not previously conducted an EquityTool based study in Egypt, this update will not affect your analysis. If you have used the previous version of the EquityTool, you should know that all of the questions included in this new version are also contained in the previous version. Each question carries the same factor weight; however, the overall scores and quintile cutoffs will be different. It is possible to combine the analysis of data collected from both the old and new versions of the EquityTool by simply removing the extra questions from analysis. If you have further questions about how this update will impact your analysis, please contact us at email@example.com.
We were unable to achieve agreement of kappa>=0.75 between the original DHS wealth index and a simplified index using our standard simplification process (detailed in this article). Using a revised approach, detailed below, high agreement (kappa>=0.75 for both urban and national indices) was achieved. The data used to identify important variables comes from the factor weights released by ICF.
We were unable to achieve a reduction in questions or an agreement of kappa>=0.75 between the original DHS wealth index quintiles and quintiles created using factor weights from the ‘Common’ tab of ICF’s factor weight file for Egypt DHS 2014. The factor weights in the common tab come from an analysis of the national population, and contain only those variables which are related to the construct of wealth in the same way in both rural and urban areas. These variables are usually used in EquityTools to calculate national quintiles, as they reduce some known areas of respondent error in the survey.
To overcome this problem of low agreement, we instead used the factor weights from the rural and urban tabs, which select variables that relate to wealth differently in urban and rural areas. For example, in an urban area, ownership of chickens may be associated with being relatively poor, while in rural areas, it may be associated with being relatively wealthy. Selection of variables specific to urban and rural areas is already provided in the factor weight file. A short list of variables, common to both urban and rural areas, are iteratively selected to find those which result in high agreement (kappa>=0.75) against the original wealth index quintiles for national and urban populations. For Egypt, the scores for urban and rural residents were combined into a national score using linear regression, in a process similar to that used by ICF. Specifically, a score from the simplified index for urban residents (Uscore) was regressed against the wealth index score variable in the dataset (HV271), the same was done for rural residents (Rscore), and the resulting coefficients are used to create a single national score (NatScore).
HV271=b1Uscore + a1
HV271=b2Rscore + a2
Where Urban=1 if respondent lives in urban area and 0 if otherwise, and Rural =1 if respondent lives in rural area and 0 if otherwise.
Respondents’ quintile assignments resulting from NatScore, the national wealth index score created from a simplified list of questions, were compared to the quintile assignments resulting from the original wealth index with 101 variables using the kappa statistic.
The questions in the simplified index which resulted from this process differ from our standard approach in two important ways. First, the index for Egypt includes questions on livestock ownership. Their inclusion was essential to create a reliable index, but responding to these questions may not be easy for all potential respondents, or when outside of the house. Since skipping a question is not advisable in this shortened list, we suggest asking a respondent to make their best guess from the choices provided, if they are unsure of a response. Second, we need to know whether the respondent lives in an urban or rural area. An additional question was added to the EquityTool: ‘DETERMINE IF THE RESPONDENT LIVES IN AN URBAN OR RURAL AREA’. In principle, the definition of ‘urban’ and ‘rural’ should match the definition used in the Egypt DHS 2014. In reality, the user needs to decide how to determine if each respondent lives in an urban or rural area. Three approaches are presented below, with some notes on each. Whichever method is chosen, it should be uniformly applied across all surveys conducted.
Level of agreement:
Urban only population
Respondents in the original dataset were divided into three groups for analysis – those in the 1st and 2nd quintiles (poorest 40%), those in the 3rd quintile, and those in the 4th and 5th quintiles (richest 40%). After calculating their wealth using the simplified index, they were again divided into the same three groups for analysis against the original data in the full DHS. Agreement between the original data and our simplified index is presented above.
What does this mean?
When shortening and simplifying the index to make it easier for programs to use to assess equity, it no longer matches the original index with 100% accuracy. At an aggregate level, this error is minimal, and this methodology was deemed acceptable for programmatic use by an expert panel. However, for any given individual, especially those already at a boundary between two quintiles, the quintile the EquityTool assigns them to may differ to their quintile according to the original DHS wealth index.
The graph below illustrates the difference between the EquityTool generated index and the full DHS wealth index. Among all of those people (20% of the population) originally identified as being in the poorest quintile, approximately 66% are still identified as being in the poorest quintile when we use the simplified index. However, approximately 32% of people are now classified as being in Quintile 2 or 3. From a practical standpoint, all of these people are relatively poor. Yet, it is worthwhile to understand that the simplified index of 12 questions produces results that are not identical to using all 50 questions in the original survey.
The following table provides the same information on the movement between national quintiles when using the EquityTool versus the original DHS wealth index:
|EquityTool National Quintiles|
|Quintile 1||Quintile 2||Quintile 3||Quintile 4||Quintile 5||Total|
|Original DHS National Quintiles||Quintile 1||13.2%||4.7%||1.7%||0.3%||0.0%||20%|
The following graph provides information on the movement between urban quintiles when using the EquityTool versus the original DHS wealth index:
The following table provides the same information on the movement between urban quintiles when using the EquityTool versus the original DHS wealth index:
|EquityTool Urban Quintiles|
|Quintile 1||Quintile 2||Quintile 3||Quintile 4||Quintile 5||Total|
|Original DHS Urban Quintiles||Quintile 1||16.7%||2.9%||0.3%||0.1%||0.0%||20%|
Data interpretation considerations:
Metrics for Management provides technical assistance services to those using the EquityTool, or wanting to collect data on the wealth of their program beneficiaries. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will assist you.
 From http://www.eg.undp.org/content/egypt/en/home/countryinfo.html, reporting on Egypt’s poverty line.
 From the Egypt DHS 2014 dataset household recode, available at http://dhsprogram.com/