Interhousehold transfers in urban PNG: a study from the 1980s

By Louise Morauta

January 2023

The 1982–83 study reported here is one of only a handful of studies that quantify interhousehold transfers in urban Papua New Guinea. The study took place in four census units in Port Moresby and Madang with a high proportion of households without wage-earners. The main data collection methods were demographic and economic surveys of all 415 households (2,548 residents), and two-week income and consumption surveys of a sample of 48 households (295 residents) within those areas. Although initial findings from the study were issued at the time, the full data and analysis were not published.

In addition to information on transfers, the report also presents information on income, consumption, the adequacy of food consumption, and poverty in the four census units, and discusses how levels of income, consumption and poverty were affected by transfers.

Among some of the key findings, the study identified higher levels of interhousehold transfers than other studies. The effect of transfers was to raise consumption in net recipient households in the study by nearly one half and in the lowest quartile of households by 61 per cent. On the other side of the equation, transfers lowered consumption in net donor households by up to one fifth. Partly as a result of the transfers system, there were relatively low levels of inequality in the value of consumption in the four study areas, particularly in food consumption.

Despite the high level of transfers recorded in the study, an estimated 41 per cent of households in the four study areas received less than 100 per cent of their minimum nutritional requirements in relation to both calories and protein.

The study suggests that if transfers are under-reported in urban studies, consumption in net recipient households will be underestimated and in net donor households it will be overestimated. This will in turn distort the picture of the distribution of consumption between households.

The report is accompanied by Excel spreadsheets containing data by household, to enable other researchers to interrogate data from the study for themselves.

Morauta. L., 2023, ‘Interhousehold transfers in urban PNG: a study from the 1980s’, Report, Development Policy Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University.

Supplementary data:
Household tables Excel spreadsheets

Karen Downing

Karen Downing is Research Communications Coordinator at the Development Policy Centre.