The Missing Dimensions of Poverty Data: An Introduction

OPHI Working Papers

The aim of this paper is to draw attention to ‘missing dimensions’ of poverty data – dimensions that are of value to poor people, but for which we have scant or no data. Amartya Sen frames development as the process of expanding the freedoms that people value and have reason to value. Although the most widely-known measure of human development includes income, longevity, and education, many have argued that people’s values, and consequently multidimensional poverty, extends beyond these domains. In order to advance these multiple areas, it is at times necessary to conduct empirical studies using individual or household-level data on multiple dimensions of poverty. A critical barrier for international analyses of multidimensional poverty is that few or no high-quality indicators are available across countries and respondents in key domains that are deeply important to poor people and of potentially critical instrumental importance.

Citation: Alkire, S. (2007). 'The missing dimensions: An introduction', OPHI Working Paper 00, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford.

Also published in Oxford Development Studies, 2007, Vol. 35(4), pp. 347–359.

Spanish version 'Las dimensiones faltantes en la medición de la pobreza', (p. 19–33), CAF - Banco de Desarrollo de America Latina
Working Paper 00 in Mandarin

poverty, human development, data, survey methods, freedoms


Sabina Alkire

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OPHI Working Papers
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WP 00