Category Archives: Publications

MPI Methodological Note 43

Multidimensional Poverty Index Winter 2016: Brief Methodological Note and Results

The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) Winter 2016 updates use the same parameters (dimensions, indicators, cutoffs and weights) and the same functional form (Alkire and Foster Adjusted Headcount Ratio M0) as in previous years.1 This brief methodological note presents the Winter 2016 MPI updates, and releases the tables with the full results: national MPI, destitution and vulnerability results, rural, urban, subnational region, changes over time, and complete estimations, as well as complementary data, dimensional breakdowns, and confidence intervals. Destitution data are now available for 102 countries. It first explains the main updates in the Winter 2016 MPI, following the guidelines for updates presented in the 2014 Methodological Note (Alkire, Conconi and Seth 2014b). It uses the MPI methodology that has been presented in detail in previous methodological notes (Alkire and Santos 2010; Alkire, Roche, Santos and Seth 2011; Alkire, Conconi and Roche 2013; Alkire, Conconi and Seth 2014b; Alkire and Robles 2015; Alkire, Jindra, Robles and Vaz 2016). Then it briefly describes the methodological assumptions considered for the estimation of each dataset. The results of these estimations are presented in the form of 7 main tables, 103 country briefings and the interactive databank, all available on OPHI’s website (www.ophi.org.uk).

Citation: Alkire, S. and Robles, G. (2016). “Multidimensional Poverty Index – 2016: Brief methodological note and results.” MPI Methodological Notes 43, University of Oxford, December.

MPIMethodological Note 27 (OPHI Briefing 27)

Multidimensional Poverty Index – Winter 2014/2015: Brief Methodological Note and Results

The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) (released January 2015, henceforth Winter 2014/2015 MPI) uses the same parameters (dimensions, indicators, cutoffs and weights) and the same functional form (Alkire and Foster Adjusted Headcount Ratio M0) as in previous years.1 The main innovations in 2014 consisted in: updating the estimations for a larger series of countries than any previous year, providing further analysis over time, as well as a new measure of destitution, and new measures of inequality among the poor and across subnational regions. This brief methodological note presents the Winter 2014/2015 MPI updates, and the tables with the full results. It first explains the main updates in the 2014/2015 MPI, following the guidelines for updates presented in the 2014 Methodological Note (Alkire, Conconi and Seth 2014b). It summarizes the MPI methodology that has been presented in detail in previous methodological notes (Alkire and Santos 2010; Alkire, Roche, Santos and Seth 2011; Alkire, Conconi and Roche 2013; Alkire, Conconi and Seth 2014b). Then it briefly describes the measures of destitution and the index of inequality among the poor. The methodologies presented in this note were used to generate the tables on the MPI and the 110 country briefings and interactive maps available on OPHI’s website. The tables are presented as appendices and are available for download as Excel files.

Citation: Alkire, S., Conconi, A., Robles, G. and Seth, S. (2015). ‘Multidimensional Poverty Index – Winter 2014/2015: Brief Methodological Note and Results’, OPHI MPI Methodological Note 27 (OPHI Briefing 27), Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, University of Oxford.

This paper is also published as OPHI Briefing 27.

On Track or Not? Projecting the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index

In this paper we compute projections of global multidimensional poverty. We use recently published estimates of changes over time in multidimensional poverty for 75 countries, which are based on time-consistent indicators. We consider and evaluate different approaches to model the trajectories of countries’ achieved and future poverty reduction. Our preferred model respects theoretical bounds, is supported by empirical evidence, and ensures consistency of our main measure with its sub-indices. We apply this approach to examine whether countries will halve their poverty between 2015 and 2030 if observed trends continue. Our results suggest that if observed trends continue, 47 countries will have halved their poverty by 2030—irrespective of the underlying model. As the current COVID-19 pandemic may severely disrupt progress in poverty reduction, we also assess its potential impact using simulation techniques and evaluate the resulting setback. Our analyses suggest a setback to multidimensional poverty reduction of about 3–10 years.

Citation: Alkire, S., Nogales, R., Quinn, N. N., and Suppa, N. (2020). ‘On Track or Not? Projecting the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index,’ OPHI Research in Progress 58a, University of Oxford.

Multidimensional Poverty Reduction in India 2005/6–2015/16: Still a Long Way to Go but the Poorest are Catching Up

Following Amartya Sen’s pioneering ideas on poverty and inequality measurement, the development economics literature proposes diverse classes of measures as well as poverty orderings. Yet in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the headcount ratio is the primary statistic for measuring monetary and multidimensional poverty. Rigorously analysing the trends of multidimensional poverty for India between 2005/6 and 2015/16, we illustrate how the headcount ratio is not able to observe certain centrally important requirements of the SDGs – such as whether anyone is being left behind, or how deprivations are interlinked. We propose using the adjusted headcount ratio or Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) as the primary poverty measure for policy assessment, supplemented by the headcount ratio, intensity, number of poor, and composition of poverty, to provide more accurate analyses. Exploiting cross-sectional data comprising of more than three million individuals and a panel of 29 states and several socio-economic subgroups, we show empirically how the reduction of multidimensional poverty by 271 million unfolded within a decade. In contrast to earlier periods in time, we find that the poorest of the poor saw the largest reductions in multidimensional poverty due to falling levels of intensity – a feature the headcount ratio alone cannot portray. Despite the importance of the MPI we also recognise the inherent and enduring need to probe the headcount ratio and number of poor statistics. Hence we corroborate these stark findings with an assessment of the dominance of the distribution of attainment scores which establishes the relationship between MPI and H in both periods. To assess the robustness, 19 additional MPIs are constructed, having different indicator definitions and combinations, and it is found that in nearly all of these a greater number of persons left poverty.

Citation: Alkire, S., Oldiges, C. and Kanagaratnam, U. (2020). ‘Multidimensional poverty reduction in India 2005/6–2015/16: Still a long way to go but the poorest are catching up’, OPHI Research in Progress 54b, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, University of Oxford.

Changes over Time in the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index and Other Measures: Towards National Poverty Reports

This paper compares trends in multidimensional and monetary poverty systematically across developing regions. The trends in multidimensional poverty draw on the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) and related sub- and partial-indices in 80 countries and 647 subnational regions, covering roughly 5 billion people, for which there is a recent MPI estimation and comparable datasets for two time periods. This paper uses two main techniques to assess the pro-poorness of multidimensional poverty reduction and triangulate monetary and nonmonetary poverty measures. First, utilizing the properties of subgroup decomposability and dimensional breakdown, it examines changes in the MPIT and its consistent sub-indices over time across sub-national regions and urban–rural regions. The decomposition analysis identifies relevant national patterns, including those in which the pace of poverty reduction is higher for the poorest subgroups. Next, it assesses overall annualized changes in the incidence of multidimensional poverty, compares this with changes in $1.90 poverty trends, and evaluates the pace and direction of various international poverty lines for monetary poverty, with national monetary and multidimensional measures, and for the family of global MPIT measures. This extensive empirical analysis illustrates how to assess the extent and patterns of reduction of multidimensional poverty, as well as whether it is inclusive or whether some people or groups are left behind, and triangulates various poverty measures to evaluate the reliability and credibility of their purposes. Naturally, some further research questions emerge.

Online Appendix E: Eighty national poverty reports, triangulating monetary measures and the global MPI family of multidimensional poverty measures.

Citation: Alkire, S., F. Kovesdi, M. Pinilla-Roncancio and S. Scharlin-Pettee. (2020). ‘Changes over time in the global Multidimensional Poverty Index and other measures: Towards national poverty reports’, OPHI Research in Progress 57a, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, University of Oxford.

OPHI MPI Methodological Note 50

This methodological note presents an eighty-country study of changes over time in multidimensional poverty, using the global MPI specifications. Accompanying tables show the full results of these disaggregations: national, rural, urban, subnational regions, and age groups, as well as complementary data, indicator breakdowns, and standard errors. This note first explains the choice of the 80 countries for this global study of changes over time. It then describes the principles used to guide the data harmonization process and the estimation procedures. Lastly, it provides the methodological details of harmonization for the estimation of each dataset used. The results of these estimations are presented online in Table 6 of Data Tables 2020.

Citation: Alkire, S., Kovesdi, F., Mitchell, C., Pinilla-Roncancio, M. and Scharlin-Pettee, S. (2020). ‘Changes over Time in the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index’, OPHI MPI Methodological Note 50, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, University of Oxford.

OPHI MPI Methodological Note 49

This document presents the methodology and technical decisions behind the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2020, the Stata do-files, and the results presented in Tables 1–5. This document is part of OPHI’s Methodological Notes series. A Methodological Note is published for every release of the global MPI.

Citation:  Alkire, S., Kanagaratnam, U., and Suppa, N. (2020). ‘The global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2020’, OPHI MPI Methodological Note 49, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, University of Oxford.

Monetary and Multidimensional Poverty: Correlations, Mismatches and Joint Distributions

We consider the relationships between multidimensional and monetary poverty indices in international and national poverty profiles, and evaluate the empirical consequences of identifying poor people relying on a combination of both approaches. Taking first a cross-country perspective, focusing on the developing world, we find that the incidence of poverty accord- ing to money metrics and the global MPI, a non-monetary measure of poverty, are correlated. This correlation breaks down in poorer countries. We use micro-data from six countries to study the joint densities of monetary and multidimensional welfare and the poverty identification mismatches for a comprehensive array of poverty line pairs. Mismatches are important, particularly, again, in the poorer countries. Although mismatches could be solved by combining both approaches in a dual cutoff poverty measure, the choice of the monetary poverty line remains a considerable issue as it changes the non-monetary composition of poverty.

Citation: Evans, M. Nogales, R. and Robson, M. (2020). ‘Monetary and multidimensional poverty: Correlations, mismatches, and joint distributions’, OPHI Working Paper 133, University of Oxford.

Revising the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index: Empirical Insights and Robustness

The global Multidimensional Poverty Index, published annually since 2010, captures acute multidimensional poverty in the developing regions of the world. In 2018, five of its ten indicators were revised with the purpose of aligning the index to the SDGs insofar as current data permit. This paper provides comprehensive analyses of the consequences of this revision from three perspectives. First, we offer new empirical insights available from the revised specification. Second, we analyse its robustness to changes in some key parameters, including the poverty cutoff and dimensional weights. Third, we compare the revised and the original specifications by implementing both on the same 105 national datasets. The country orderings in the revised specification are found to be robust to plausible parametric alternatives. Largely, these country orderings are at least as robust as the original one. Additional research on robustness standards is suggested.

Citation: Alkire, S., Kanagaratnam, U., Nogales, R. and Suppa, N. (2020). ‘Revising the global Multidimensional Poverty Index: Empirical insight and robustness’, OPHI Research in Progress 56a, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, University of Oxford.

Multi-Dimensional Poverty Profile in Palestine, 2017

This report presents the findings of the national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) for the State of Palestine. The Palestinian MPI was developed by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) with technical support from the National Team for Poverty Combating and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).

This report is the first that addresses multidimensional poverty in the State of Palestine, and responds to a decree issued by the Palestinian Council of Ministers to evaluate multidimensional poverty within the preparation framework for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Palestinian National Policy Agenda (NPA).

The Palestinian MPI consists of seven dimensions tailored to the particular context of Palestine. Six of these dimensions comprise the social well-being component and cover 21 indicators in education, health, employment, housing conditions and access to services, safety and use of assets, and personal freedom. A seventh dimension—monetary poverty—captures economic well-being using the national poverty line. The Palestinian MPI uses 2016/17 PECS survey data with substantial revisions on the household part of the instrument.

Key findings based on 2016/2017 data include:

  • The overall incidence of multidimensional poverty was 24%, which is slightly lower than the monetary poverty line (29%).
  • In terms of incidence, multidimensional poverty in the Gaza Strip is four times (45%) as prevalent as in the West Bank (11%).
  • The intensity of multidimensional poverty in Palestine is 42.4%. People in poverty face on average 42.4% of the weighted sum of indicators. The disparity in incidence between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank is not reflected in the intensity of poverty which is 43.3% in the Gaza Strip and 40.0% in the West Bank.
  • Overall, the MPI is 0.102. This sets a baseline for future comparisons.
  • Poverty is more severe in refugee camps than in urban and rural areas. The incidence of poverty is 39% in refugee camps, whereas it is 14% in rural areas and 24% in urban areas. 

Read more and download the report here.