Towards a Multidimensional Poverty Index for Germany

OPHI Working Papers

This paper compiles a multidimensional poverty index for Germany. Drawing on the capability approach as conceptual framework, I apply the Alkire-Foster method using German data. I propose a comprehensive operationalization of a multidimensional poverty index for an advanced economy like Germany, including a justification for several dimensions. Income, however, is rejected as a dimension on both conceptual and empirical grounds. I document that insights obtained by the proposed multidimensional poverty index are consistent with earlier findings. Moreover, I exploit the decomposability of the Alkire-Foster measure for both a consistently detection of specific patterns in multidimensional poverty and the identification of driving factors behind its changes. Finally, the results suggest that using genuine multidimensional measures makes a difference. Neither a single indicator nor a dashboard seem capable of replacing a multidimensional poverty index. Moreover, I find multidimensional and income-poverty measures to disagree on who is poor.

Citation: Suppa, N. (2015). 'Towards a Multidimensional Poverty Index for Germany,' OPHI Working Paper 98, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford.

Also published in Empirica, 2018, Vol. 45, pp. 655–683.

multidimensional poverty, Alkire-Foster method, capability approach, SOEP
Europe and Central Asia

Nicolai Suppa
Series Name
OPHI Working Papers
Publication date
JEL Codes
I3, I32, D63, H1
Publication Number
WP 98