Category Archives: Publications

The Measurement Properties of Multidimensional Poverty Indices for Children: Lessons and Ways Forward

This paper considers the measurement properties of indices used to measure multidimensional child poverty in the developing world. Two indices are considered in detail: the Alkire Foster method (Alkire & Foster 2010) and the ‘categorical counting’ method as exemplified by UNICEF poverty indices based on methodologies by Gordon et al. (2003) and De Neubourg et al. (2013). This analysis examines the underlying differences between the two methodologies in two stages. First, using hypothetical data we consider the differences in measurement properties that arise from the axiomatic construction of indices using a laboratory approach. Second, we use harmonized Demographic and Health Surveys data from three countries to examine how the properties found in the laboratory data lead to actual differences in the measurement of the prevalence of multidimensional poverty within and across countries, and the ability of indices to monitor changes in the prevalence of multidimensional poverty. The paper concludes by considering the findings from the analysis and how they could be taken forward in future measurements of poverty prevalence and reduction in Sustainable Development Goals targets and indicators.

Citation: Evans, M.C. and Abdurazakov, A. (2018). ‘The measurement properties of multidimensional poverty indices for children: lessons and ways forward’. OPHI Working Paper 115, University of Oxford.

Pobreza multidimensional en Chile: Incorporación de Entorno y Redes

OPHI Briefing 50 (pdf 8 pages)

En el año 2015, el gobierno de Chile presentó la medida oficial de pobreza, utilizando datos del 2013, la cual consideraba cuatro dimensiones: Educación, Salud, Trabajo y Seguridad Social, y Vivienda. Luego de valorar esta experiencia y el diagnóstico resultante, Chile asumió el desafío de ampliar la medida multidimensional con la incorporación de indicadores que también son relevantes para el nivel de bienestar de las familias, en particular aquellos relacionados con el entorno en que habitan y las redes sociales de las que disponen los hogares. ¿Cómo enfrentar este desafío?

Author: Ministry of Social Development, Government of Chile

Language: Spanish

Year: 2018

Citation: Ministerio de Desarrollo Social de Chile. (2018). ‘Pobreza multidimensional en Chile: Incorporación de Entorno y Redes’. OPHI Briefing 50, University of Oxford.

Multidimensional Inequality and Human Development

The measurement of inequality from a human development perspective is fundamental. We start this paper by briefly introducing the human development approach and its main conceptual basis: the capability approach. We note that inequality should preferably be assessed in the space of functionings, requiring the assessment methods to use multidimensional techniques. We then present the primary challenges inherent to multidimensional inequality measurement that are related to two types of distributional changes: one is concerned with the dispersions within distributions that are analogous to the unidimensional framework and the other, unlike the unidimensional framework, is concerned with the association between distributions. We next present a succinct review of the most prominent measures proposed in the literature within a unifying framework and review the empirical applications surrounding these measures. We note that while multidimensional inequality measures have a great potential to contribute to the monitoring of human development, there are some challenges to overcome in order to fulfil this potential.

Citation: Seth, S. and Santos, M. E. (2018). ‘Multidimensional inequality and human development’. OPHI Working Paper 114, University of Oxford.

Collective Choice and Social Welfare by Amartya Sen: A Review Essay with Reference to Development in Peru

This paper provides an overview of Sen’s revised edition of Collective Choice and Social Welfare (London: Penguin Books, 2017) and examines the relevance of its arguments in the context of Peru. It focuses on three main points: 1) a social choice approach for addressing global problems; 2) an expanded informational basis for making judgments; and 3) a public reasoning view of collective decision-making. The paper then discusses these points in relation to development policy in Peru. It critically analyses the human-social development strategy followed by the Peruvian government in recent years and, in particular, the capacity of public reasoning to reflect and sustain the priorities of the poorest and marginalized in the public policy agenda.

Citation: Deneulin, S. and Clausen, J. (2018). ‘Collective Choice and Social Welfare by Amartya Sen: a review essay with reference to development in Peru’. OPHI Working Paper 113, University of Oxford.

Incorporating Environmental and Natural Resources within Analyses of Multidimensional Poverty

How can multidimensional poverty measures – that currently encompass social and economic dimensions – be extended to include environmental deprivations that strike the poor simultaneously? And can such extended measures better inform effective and integrated policy responses? Research on joint Environmental and Natural Resources (ENR) and poverty issues is rich, and has contributed to bringing the poverty-environment nexus to the fore. Yet, no widely used multidimensional poverty measure identifies who and how the socio-economically poor people are affected by ENR-issues, at a large enough scale, and in ways that can respond to and inform public policies over the medium term. This paper sets out how such a measure could be built. In particular, it sets out how to include indicators of ENR deprivations into the profile of the joint deprivations people experience. These deprivation profiles could then be used to compute multidimensional measures using the Alkire Foster (AF) methodology, with the difference that these would now encompass a subset of pertinent ENR deprivations. The paper clarifies the ENR data requirements for developing and analysing such a measure empirically.

Citation: Thiry, G., Alkire, S. and Schleicher, J. (2018). ‘Incorporating environmental and natural resources within analyses of multidimensional poverty’. OPHI Research in Progress 50a, University of Oxford.

Multidimensional Poverty Reduction among Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa

This paper focuses on changes in multidimensional poverty as measured by the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (global MPI) in Sub-Saharan Africa. Using data for 35 countries, we describe the changes in level, intensity, and composition of multidimensional poverty at the national level. For a subset of countries we discuss results at the subnational level and provide a brief comparison to changes in income poverty. Our findings suggest that 30 countries, home to 92% of the population in our sample, significantly reduced multidimensional poverty as measured by the global MPI for at least one comparison and significantly reduced the share of poor people. Looking within countries, we find different patterns of poverty reduction, with some countries reducing poverty for the poorest regions while poorer regions in other countries do not seem to benefit from the general reduction in poverty to the same extent. When comparing trends in income and multidimensional poverty reduction we find significant differences, indicating that a holistic approach to poverty reduction should look at both multidimensional and income poverty.

Citation: Alkire, S., Jindra, C., Robles-Aguilar, G., and Vaz, A. (2017). ‘Multidimensional poverty reduction among countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.’ OPHI Working Paper 112, University of Oxford.

Walls of Glass. Measuring Deprivation in Social Participation

This paper proposes a measure for deprivation in social participation, an important but so far neglected dimension of human well-being. Operationalisation and empirical implementation of the measures are conceptually guided by the capability approach. Essentially, the paper argues that deprivation in social participation can often be convincingly established by drawing on extensive non-participation in customary social activities. In doing so, the present paper synthesises philosophical considerations, axiomatic research on poverty and deprivation, previous empirical research on social exclusion and subjective well-being. An empirical application illustrates the measurement approach using high-quality survey data for Germany. To evaluate the validity of the proposed measures, I also explore the empirical relation to adjacent concepts including material deprivation, income poverty, other potential determinants of social participation, and life satisfaction using regression techniques.

Citation: Suppa, N. (2017). ‘Walls of glass. Measuring deprivation in social participation.’ OPHI Research in Progress 49a, University of Oxford.

Defining MPI Dimensions through Participation: The Case of El Salvador

OPHI Briefing 49 (pdf, 4pp)

How to choose dimensions and indicators that better target public policies? This question was asked in El Salvador in the early stages of creating the MPI-ES. Several paths were tested. There were many suggestions for dimensions and indicators. But, understanding that poverty is more than income level, which dimensional deprivations are felt most by the poor population? To answer this question, El Salvador conducted a participatory process that was instrumental in defining the dimensions and indicators of the final index.

Author: Carolina Moreno

Year: 2017

Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2017 (2 page briefing)

OPHI Briefing 48 (pdf)

The global MPI is a new generation of multidimensional measures that supports key priorities in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). High-resolution poverty diagnostics are needed to leave no one behind. The global MPI is disaggregated by children, disability status, sub-national regions and rural/urban areas. Linked indices of destitution and severe poverty highlight the very poorest. The SDGs call for analyses of interlinkages across indicators, and the global MPI is built upon household-level multidimensional poverty profiles. The SDGs advocate integrated multisectoral policies. The global MPI unfolds to show the composition of poverty by indicator nationally, and in every disaggregated group.

Authors: Sabina Alkire and Gisela Robles

Year: 2017

Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2017 (16 page briefing)

OPHI Briefing 47 (pdf)

The 2017 global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) provides a headline estimation of poverty and its composition for 103 countries across the world. The global MPI measures the nature and intensity of poverty, based on the profile of overlapping deprivations each poor person experiences. It aggregates these into meaningful indexes that can be used to inform targeting and resource allocation and to design policies that tackle the interlinked dimensions of poverty together.

Authors: Sabina Alkire and Gisela Robles

Year: 2017