Category Archives: Publications

Paraguay MPI 2021

This report (in Spanish) presents the findings of the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) of Paraguay, which aims to inform and guide poverty reduction strategies. The Paraguayan MPI was developed as part of a collaboration led by the National Statistics Institute (INE) of Paraguay, with technical support from OPHI.

This report is based on the national Permanent Survey of Households, ‘la Encuesta Permanente de Hogares (EPH)’, which is updated regularly. The report of the MPI uses data from the fourth quarter of each year from 2017 to 2020 to scrutinize poverty levels and trends.  A person is considered multidimensionally poor if they are deprived in 26% of the 15 weighted indicators grouped under the four dimensions: ‘Employment and social security’, ‘Housing and public services’, ‘Health and environment’, and ‘Education’.

Key findings include:

  • In 2020, 24.9% of the population of Paraguay were living in multidimensional poverty.
  • In 2020, the intensity of poverty, or average share of deprivations experienced among the multidimensionally poor population, was 37.7.%.
  • In 2016, the incidence of the population who were multidimensionally poor was 34.3%, falling to 24.9% in 2020.
  • in 2020 the incidence of multidimensional poverty in rural areas (44.6%) was higher than in urban areas (13.3%).

Download the ‘Índice de pobreza multidimensional (IPM) Paraguay 2021’

Namibia Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) Report 2021

This report presents the findings of the 2021 Namibian Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) which aims to inform and guide poverty reduction strategies in Namibia. The Namibian MPI was developed as part of a collaboration led by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), with UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, and OPHI. 

This report is based on the Namibian Household Income and Expenditure Survey (NHIES 2015/16).  If a person is deprived in 30% of 11 weighted indicators grouped under the three dimensions of ‘Education’, ‘Health’ and ‘Living Standards’, they are considered multidimensionally poor.

Key findings based on 2015/2016 data include:

  • More than 43.3 percent of Namibia’s population live in multidimensional poverty.
  • The average intensity of poverty is 44.0%, meaning that poor people in Namibia experience, on average, 44.0% of the weighted deprivations.
  • The Namibian Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which is the product of incidence and intensity, is 0.191.
  • Rural areas were found to be poorer than urban areas, reported at 59.3% and 25.3%, respectively.  
  • Across the fourteen administrative regions of Namibia, the incidence of multidimensional poverty was highest in Kavango West (79.6 %), Kavango East (70.0 %) and Kunene (64.1 %).
  • The incidence of multidimensional poverty is higher among female-headed households (with a rate of 46%), than male-headed households (with a rate of 41%).
  • In terms of languages, the highest incidence of multidimensional poverty was reported amongst the population whose main language was Khoisan (93%), followed by Rukavango (68%) and Zambezi (54%). This is in stark contrast to populations whose main spoken languages were English and German (each with 3%).
  • The incidence of multidimensional poverty is highest for households that have 16 or more members, at 72.8% compared to 33.4% for a household with less than 6 members.
  • The youngest children in Namibia are the poorest with the highest incidence of poverty reported among children aged 1–4 years (56%), followed by 5–9 years (50%) and 10–14 years (48%).

Download the report Namibia Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) Report 2021

Multidimensional Poverty and Inclusive Growth in India: An Analysis Using Growth Elasticities and Semi-Elasticities

Post reform India has generated high economic growth, yet progress in income poverty and many other key development outcomes has been modest. This paper primarily examines how inclusive economic growth has been in India between 2005-06 and 2015-16 in reducing multidimensional poverty captured by the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). We employ a constellation of elasticity and semi-elasticity measures to examine vertical, horizontal as well as dimensional inclusiveness of economic growth. Nationally, we estimate that a one percent annual economic growth in India during our study period is associated with an annual reduction in MPI of 1.34 percent. The association of the national growth to state poverty reduction (horizontal inclusiveness) is however not uniform. Some states have been successful in reducing poverty faster than the national average despite slower economic growth between 2005-05 and 2015-16; whereas, other states have been less successful to do so despite faster economic growth during the same period. Our analyses and findings show how these tools may be used in practical applications to measure inclusive growth and inform policy.

This paper is forthcoming in the Research on Economic Inequality, vol. 29.
Download the preprint of ‘Multidimensional poverty and inclusive growth in India: An analysis using growth elasticities and semi-elasticities’

Citation: Seth, S. and Alkire, S. (2021). ‘Multidimensional poverty and inclusive growth in India: An analysis using growth elasticities and semi-elasticities’, OPHI Working Papers 137, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford.

Interlinkages Between Multidimensional Poverty and Electricity

Nearly a billion people living in developing countries still lack access to electricity, which is essential to power modern economies, healthcare and education. More than half of those without power today are children under 18, undermining their opportunity to ready, study or play after sunset. In a quarter of the subnational regions covered by the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), electricity as a basic commodity is absent for two-thirds or more of the population.

‘Interlinkages between multidimensional poverty and electricity: a study using the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)’ extends the analysis of global MPI microdata to explore the interlinkages between deprivation in electricity and other indicators related to health, education and living standards. The analysis identifies the most common simultaneous deprivations that people who are also electricity deprived experience in their everyday lives. It also looks at the relationship between electricity and poverty and economic development, measured using a multidimensional approach. The report identifies the distinctive profile of those who are poor and deprived in electricity, as well as examining a subset of countries to understand improvement in electricity access over time.

The findings of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative’s report show the interlinkages between electricity and multiple indicators of poverty, making the case for universal electrification as a path for more rapid and inclusive economic development.

Download the Interlinkages between Multidimensional Poverty and Electricity report

Leaving No Country Behind in Human Development: A Fuzzy Approach

‘Leaving no one behind’ (LNOB) constitutes one of the core principles underpinning the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In this paper, we propose a fuzzy logic approach to identify countries left behind in each dimension of human development and to estimate the extent to which certain countries are left behind in terms of overall human development. Following the current analytical framework for measuring the Human Development Index (HDI), we illustrate our proposal by measuring the degree to which a country was left behind in the years 2000 and 2018. In general, we find that the countries left furthest behind at the beginning of the century were those that most reduced gaps with respect to better performing countries. Nevertheless, we cannot clearly speak of convergence in HDI as there are notable exceptions, such as the Central African Republic, Liberia, Yemen, Haiti, and Venezuela, which despite the improvement in their HDI between 2000 and 2018, worryingly increased their gaps in human development relative to the rest of the world. The illustration highlights the significant advantages of measuring cross-county human development using our fuzzy-based LNOB approach to provide new complementary measures consistent with the United Nations’ moral imperative of leaving no country behind.

Citation: García-Pardo, F., Pérez-Moreno, S.  and Bárcena-Martín, E. (2021). ‘Leaving no country behind in human development: A fuzzy approach’, OPHI Working Paper 136, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford.

Multidimensional Poverty and COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean: Recent Trends and the Route Ahead

OPHI Briefing 57 (PDF)

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has altered people’s lives in a multifaceted way. It is now clear that the progress in poverty reduction is also at stake. This briefing analyses the most recent and up-to-date trends in multidimensional poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) prior to the pandemic, which is essential for understanding both the progress made in the past and for use as a benchmark for the future.

The briefing first presents the levels of multidimensional poverty in LAC according to the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2020.

Erratum: The source for Table A1 in the Appendix is erroneously stated as ‘Alkire, Nogales, Quinn, and Suppa (2020)’ in the briefing. The correct source information for this table should read ‘Alkire, Kanagaratnam and Suppa (2020).

Download OPHI Briefing 57.

Authors: Hector Moreno and Mónica Pinilla-Roncancio
Year: 2021

Citation: Moreno, H. and Pinilla-Roncancio, M. (2021). ‘Multidimensional Poverty and COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean: Recent Trends and the Route Ahead’, OPHI Briefing 57, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford.

Global multidimensional poverty and COVID-19: A decade of progress at risk?

According to the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), an internationally comparable measure, poverty in developing countries has fallen substantially over the last 15 years. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic contraction are negatively impacting multiple dimensions of poverty and jeopardising this progress. This paper uses quantitative assessments of increases in food insecurity and out of school children made by UN agencies to inform microsimulations of potential impacts of the pandemic under six alternative scenarios. These simulations use the nationally representative datasets underlying the 2020 update of the global MPI. Because these datasets were collected between one and 12 years pre-pandemic, we develop models to translate the simulated impacts to 2020 while accounting for underlying poverty reduction trends and country-specific factors. Aggregating results across 70 countries that account for 89% of the global poor according to the 2020 global MPI, we find that the potential setback to multidimensional poverty reduction is between 3.6 and 9.9 years under the alternative scenarios.

An earlier version of this work was circulated as part of “On track or not? Projecting the global Multidimensional Poverty Index”, OPHI Research in Progress 58a.

Citation: Alkire, S., Nogales, R., Quinn, N. N. and Suppa, N. (2021). ‘Global multidimensional poverty and COVID-19: A decade of progress at risk?’, OPHI Research in Progress 61a, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, University of Oxford.

Endogenous Weights and Multidimensional Poverty: A Cautionary Tale

Composite measures such as multidimensional poverty indices depend crucially on the weights assigned to the different dimensions and their indicators. A recent strand of the literature uses endogenous weights, determined by the data at hand, to compute poverty scores. Notwithstanding their merits, we demonstrate both analytically and empirically how a broad class of endogenous weights violates key properties of multidimensional poverty indices such as monotonicity and subgroup consistency. Without these properties, anti-poverty policy targeting and assessments are bound to be seriously compromised. Using real-life data from Ecuador and Uganda, we show that these violations are widespread. Hence, one should be extremely careful when using endogenous weights in measuring poverty. Our results naturally extend to other welfare measures based on binary indicators, such as the widely studied asset indices.

Citation: Dutta, I., Nogales, R. and Yalonetzky, G. (2021): ‘Endogenous weights and multidimensional poverty: A cautionary tale’, OPHI Working Paper 135, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford.

An advanced version of this paper is published in the Journal of Development Economics; available online from 17 February 2021.

A Birdseye View of Well-being: Exploring a Multidimensional Measure for the United Kingdom

This paper explores a new approach to capturing well-being and human development in a single, joint multidimensional index that is at once intuitive, rigorous and policy salient. Based on Amartya Sen’s capability approach and the Alkire-Foster method as adapted in Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Index, the paper presents a new exploratory Multidimensional Well-being Index (MWI) for the United Kingdom. The aim of the paper is twofold: inform the debate on the measurement of well-being, and of human development more generally, and illustrate the added value of a single rigorous metric in the form of an index, as a complementary headline measure to GDP. The MWI presented here follows a subset of the domains and indicators from the official national well-being dashboard for the UK and is constructed from a single wave of Understanding Society (Wave 9) data. Findings are presented at the national level and decomposed by population subgroups and regions to reveal inequalities in well-being across the population. The indicators are data constrained so we recommend the results be interpreted as illustrating a methodology that could be insightful for policy if appropriate indicators were agreed by due process. Results show that 44% the population enjoys satisfactory levels of well-being, but this varies greatly. For instance, across ethnic groups, 53% of white people enjoy favourable well-being, but only 35% of other ethnic groups, and only 27% of people who self-identify as Black African/Caribbean or Black British. Many people report lacking a balanced diet and minimum physical exercise, as well as feeling unhappy, anxious and not feeling satisfied with income or leisure time, that highlights the need for policy focus on these areas if well-being is to be raised and maintained for all.

Citation: Alkire, S. and Kovesdi, F. (2020). ‘A birdseye view of well-being: Exploring a multidimensional measure for the United Kingdom’, OPHI Research in Progress 60a, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford.

Moderate Multidimensional Poverty Index: Paving the Way out of Poverty

This paper introduces a trial Moderate Multidimensional Poverty Index (MMPI) that provides a meaningful superset of existing global multidimensional poverty indices. Eradicating poverty in all its forms everywhere requires indicators that measure sustainable pathways out of poverty, not only the absence of extreme deprivation. The MMPI increases the deprivation cutoff of nine of the ten indicators of the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (gMPI) to reflect moderate rather than acute levels of multidimensional poverty, in line with the ambitions outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The MMPI is constructed as a superset to the global MPI maintaining the three dimensions of health, education and living standards, but adjusting nine of the indicators to reflect a meaningful change in the level of ambition. The trial MMPI is data-constrained, but provides a methodology and discusses potential indicators for an MMPI that would: i) be globally comparable across countries at all income levels, ii) align the indicators with the higher standards for development as defined in the Agenda 2030, and iii) allow us to study some aspects of intrahousehold deprivation. The trial MMPI is illustrated empirically using nationally representative household surveys from Thailand, Iraq, Tanzania, Serbia, Guatemala, and Bangladesh. The empirical results in the six countries show the added value of having three layered measures of destitution, acute poverty, and moderate poverty. The MMPI aligns reasonably well with the established monetary poverty levels in lower middle-income countries ($3.2 / day) and in upper middle-income countries ($5.5/day), yet with some informative differences. The results demonstrate that the MMPI is feasible, has desirable properties as a global poverty index, and allows to unearth thus far hidden aspects in poverty measurement, such as intrahousehold deprivations in education. Still, challenges remain in terms of data availability for certain indicators and a study across additional countries is required before an MMPI structure can be finalized.

Citation: Alkire, S., Kovesdi, F., Scheja, E. and Vollmer, F. (2020). ‘Moderate Multidimensional Poverty Index: Paving the way out of poverty’, OPHI Research in Progress 59a, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford.