Multidimensional Poverty Measures

Instructor: Sabina Alkire , Director OPHI

Class Objectives:

  • Brief history of Multidimensional Poverty Measures
  • Preliminary issues and decisions: Dimensions, Indicators, Weights, Cutoffs, Time, Substitutes, Population
  • Identification – Union, Intersection, Intermediate
  • Concrete measures proposed


Problem Set on Multidimensional Poverty Measure

Answer Key Multidimensional Poverty Measure (PDF)
Answer Key Multidimensional Poverty Measure (DO)

Reading List

Basic Readings:
ALKIRE, S. and J. E. FOSTER (2008): “Counting and Multidimensional Poverty Measurement.” Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI) Working Paper 7.
ATKINSON, A. B. (2003), “Multidimensional deprivation: contrasting social welfare and counting approaches”, Journal of Economic Inequality, 1, 51-65.
BOURGUIGNON, F., and S. R. CHAKRAVARTY (2003): “The Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty”, Journal of Economic Inequality, 1, 25-49.

Further readings:
ANAND, S., and A. SEN (1997): Concepts of Human Development and Poverty: A Multidimensional Perspective. New York: UNDP.
BRANDOLINI, A., and G. D’ALESSIO (1998). Measuring Well-being in the Functioning Space. Mimeo. Rome. Banco d’Italia Research Department.
DEUTSCH, J., and J. SILBER (2005): “Measuring Multidimensional Poverty: An Empirical Comparison of Various Approaches”, The Review of Income and 17 Wealth, 51, 145-174
DUCLOS, J.-Y., D. E. SAHN, and S. D. YOUNGER (2006): “Robust Multidimensional Poverty Comparisons” The Economic Journal, 116, 943-968.
GORDON, D., S. NANDY, C. PANTAZIS, S. PEMBERTON, and P. TOWNSEND (2003): “The Distribution of Child Poverty in the Developing World”, Bristol: Centre for International Poverty Research.
KOLM, S. C. (1977 ): “Multidimensional Egalitarianism”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 91, 1-13.
MAASOUMI, E., and M. A. LUGO (2008): “The Information Basis of Multivariate Poverty Assessments”, in Quantitative Approaches to Multidimensional Poverty Measurement, ed. by N. Kakwani, and J. Silber. New York: Palgrave-MacMillan, 1-29.
SEN, A. K. (1980): “Equality of What?”, in The Tanner Lectures on Human Values, ed. by S. McMurrin. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.
— (1987): “The Standard of Living”, in The Standard of Living, ed. by G. Hawthorn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1-38.
— (1997): On Economic Inequality. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
THORBECKE, E. (2008): “Multidimensional Poverty: Conceptual and Measurement Issues”, in The Many Dimensions of Poverty ed. by N. Kakwani, and J. Silber. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
TSUI, K. (1999): “Multidimensional Inequality and Multidimensional Generalised Entropy Measures: An Axiomatic Approach”, Social Choice & Welfare, 16, 145-158.
— (2002): “Multidimensional Poverty Indices”, Social Choice & Welfare, 19, 69-93.

Suggested books on this topic:
ATKINSON, A.B., B. CANTILLON, E. MARLIER, and B.NOLAN (2002), Social Indicators: The EU and Social Inclusion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
KAKWANI, N. and J. SILBER (2008), The Many Dimensions of Poverty. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
KAKWANI, N. and J. SILBER (2008), Quantitative Approaches to Multidimensional Poverty Measurement. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
MCGILLIVRAY, M. (ed.) (2006), Human Well-being: Concept and Measurement. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave MacMillan.