This study compares poverty and income distribution among gender subgroups in Russia and four East European countries—Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Poland—in 2000. Does the gender poverty gap exist in these countries and if yes, how big is it? How much does the level of gender inequality contribute to explaining the level of aggregate inequality and poverty within each country? To what extent may the differences emerging in cross-country comparisons of poverty and inequality be explained by differences in the gender composition of households, e.g., the prevalence of female-dominated households? These are the questions I seek to answer in this paper.

Equivalent expenditure is adopted as a measure of economic welfare of households with different gender ratios. The gender gap is defined as the degree of distance between the economic welfare of households dominated by women and households dominated by men. Headcount poverty and average poverty shortfalls are calculated using relative poverty lines. Inequality is measured by Gini and Theil L coefficients.

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