Ongoing Debates and Research Topics

Sabina Alkire

  • Debates about the AF method.
  • Clarification of misunderstandings in the debate.
  • Discussions about the global MPI in particular.
  • Review of different research questions requiring further work.

Overview of Research Topics

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Overview of Research Topics

The list below is not comprehensive, but covers some of the key research issues that have been identified by OPHI researchers. Please watch Part 2 of the video to get a further explanation by Sabina Alkire.

Research Issues: Data for MPI

  • Can we improve international data for MPI calculations?
  • Should we ‘call for’ a survey having a specific set of dimensions and indicators? And which?

Research Issues: General data

  • Data Constraints: Most criticisms address these (why don’t you include _____?).
  • identify ‘new’ questionnaires on standard surveys
  • identify ‘new’ dimensions
  • survey problems: individual level data, excluded populations
  • the consequence of the combination of surveys, administrative data, mapping
  • the consequence of the combination of data for different reference groups

Research issues: implementation of multidimensional measures

The example of the international MPI

  • Robustness checks (weights, bootstrapping, household size, indicators)
  • Aggregation within households – what biases exist?
  • Households without eligible populations – the impact on the measure?
  • Comparisons across surveys from different years – sample, respondents
  • Thorough investigation into the assets indicator in the living standard dimension
  • Indicator scrutiny: Stunting, Quality of Education, etc
  • Which are the ideal indicators to use for an international MPI?
  • Development of MPI-2 appropriate for countries with higher human development.
  • Rural/Urban poverty? Should we adjust urban indicators?
  • The impact of overlooked populations: elder poverty

General empirical implementation of the AF method: (example of questions)

  • Statistical interrelationships among indicators – Systematic.
  • The relationship between income/consumption poverty and deprivations
  • Combining individual and household level data
  • Investigate the issues of intra household inequalities, household composition, predicting household deprivations on multidimensional measures
  • Weights (ordinal ranking)
  • Development of group-specific indicators (child, ethnic minority)
  • Multiple cut-offs with ordinal data (extreme poverty, poverty)
  • Develop multidimensional health indicators, quality of schooling, governance, child poverty, etc.
  • Use of biomedical data to set weights – nutrition measure

Research issues: the development of the methodology

  • Develop time series and panel data methodologies, expand to include chronic poverty
  • Robustness tests (weights, cut-offs, indicators)
  • Test statistics, measurement error, uncertainty, inference
  • Appropriate validation ‘tests’ for national measures
  • Algorithm for adjusting weights for ordinal data and M1 M2
  • Complementarity and Substitutability
  • Chronic Multidimensional Poverty
  • Axioms – for Chronic Multidimensional Poverty
  • Characterisation of AF
  • Axiom – post-identification decomposability
  • Use of ordinal data and the depth of poverty


Guide to the video

00:00 Introduction and outline

Part 1: The Different Debates on the AF Method and its Implementation in the Global MPI

00:49 MPI in the Human Development Report 2010 fostered debate and critique from Ravallion and national governments [see Alkire and Foster (2011)]

03:05 Ravallion’s critique

03:58 Critique 1: a single index

10:01 Critique 2: why aggregate to later break the index down afterwards

13:37 Critique 3: attainment vs deprivation space

16:21 Critique 4: prices as weights

19:21 Alternative to index suggested: a dash board (see Identification and Aggregation in the Alkire Foster Method)

28:11 Critique 5: data constraints (can this be avoided?)

30:10 General critiques of international data by OPHI and others, OPHI’s response to data issue critique

32:55 Critique 6: lack of policy consultations/participation of the poor

35:09 The discussion and debate on weights

Part 2: Review of Research Issues

38:20 Research issues 1: data constraints, the ideal data, surveys etc.

44:34 Research issues 2: implementation of the Alkire Foster method. The example of the global MPI

57:55 Research issues 3: empirical questions

68:17 Research issues 4: development of methodology

Listen to audio