Policy & Impact

One-dimensional measures miss a lot. No single indicator – such as income – can capture the multiple dimensions that constitute poverty, wellbeing, or empowerment.

When applied to poverty data, the Alkire-Foster (AF) method of multidimensional measurement, developed at the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), provides information that can help monitor poverty reduction, evaluate the impact of intervention, target the poorest regions and individuals, and coordinate policy actions to reduce poverty.

Why use a multidimensional approach?

Poverty is as complex and varied as the persons who experience it. Multidimensional poverty measures can be used to create a more comprehensive picture of the deprivations poor people experience. Read more here.

What are the benefits of the AF method to policymakers?

The AF method is flexible and can be used to create measures that can be adapted to different contexts and used in several ways. Using a set of dimensions and indicators,  the AF method provides information about not only the number or percentage of people living in multidimensional poverty but also the number of deprivations the poor face (intensity). In addition, the AF method allows policymakers to discern the dimensions and indicators that contribute the most to poverty.

How is the AF method used in policy?

Different countries have used the AF method to design and calculate measures on poverty, wellbeing, and empowerment. Depending on the purpose of the measure, countries can coordinate policies, do regional and individual targeting, monitor poverty reduction, evaluate the impact of policy strategies, allocate resources (budget allocation), among other important uses.

Read more about local, national and international policy applications of the AF method.

Read more about the Bhutan Gross National Happiness Index, and about the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index.

Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN)

The MPPN is a global network of countries of over 70 countries and institutions committed to harnessing multidimensional measurement to reduce poverty. Several of the participating countries have implemented their own nation-specific multidimensional poverty measures. Read more about MPPN’s efforts here.