James Foster calls for multidimensional measure post-2015

James Foster, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at The Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University, has called for the adoption of a multidimensional measure post-2015 which can identify and prioritise households with overlapping deprivations, and be aggregated and disaggregated to any population level.

Foster, who is an OPHI Research Associate, made the call during a session on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at a conference held by the Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) in Oxford. The talk was chaired by Paul Collier, Director of CSAE and Professor of Economics at Oxford University, and can be watched online here.

Foster suggested that an instrument such as the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) could offer a high-level summary indicator for communication and monitoring in conjunction with dimensional indicators to facilitate policy analysis and coordination. Constructed, like the MPI, using the Alkire Foster method, the measure could be transparently tailored by countries or localities to fit local policy needs for greater ownership and traction, and could be applied to the ordinal or categorical data often used in the MDGs.

Among the papers Foster referred to during his talk was the briefing written recently by OPHI’s Director Sabina Alkire and OPHI Research Associate Andy Sumner, Co-Director of the King’s International Development Institute, King’s College London. ‘Multidimensional Poverty and the Post-2015 MDGs‘ proposed a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2.0 (now known as the MPI 2015+) as a headline indicator of multidimensional poverty that can reflect participatory inputs, and can be easily disaggregated.

To watch Foster’s talk and see his presentation, click here.