Multidimensional Poverty Measurement and Analysis: Chapter 6 – Normative Choices in Measurement Design

OPHI Working Papers

After a measurement methodology has been chosen, the design of poverty measures—whether unidimensional or multidimensional—require a series of normative choices. These choices relate to the space of the measure, its purpose, unit of identification and analysis, dimensions, indicators, deprivation cutoffs, weights, and poverty line. The normative contribution is not simply philosophical; it has a practical aim: to motivate action. This entails reasoned assessment of multiple considerations including feasibility, technical and statistical strength, ease of communication, and legitimacy. This chapter describes each of these normative choices in the context of multidimensional poverty measurement design. It clarifies the implications of each choice, illustrates interconnections between them, and outlines alternative ways that these choices might be understood, made, and justified. 

Citation: Alkire, S., Foster, J. E., Seth, S., Santos, M. E., Roche, J. M., and Ballon, P. (2015). Multidimensional Poverty Measurement and Analysis, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ch. 6.

Also published in Multidimensional Poverty Measurement and Analysis, Oxford University Press, 2015.

space of poverty measurement, purpose of measurement, unit of analysis, choice of dimensions, selection of indicators, capabilities, deprivation cutoffs, weights, poverty cutoffs

Sabina Alkire, James E. Foster, Suman Seth, Maria Emma Santos, Jose M. Roche and Paola Ballon
Series Name
OPHI Working Papers
Publication date
JEL Codes
A13, I32, O20
Publication Number
WP 87