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On the Arbitrariness and Robustness of Multi-Dimensional Poverty Rankings

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  • Mozaffar Qizilbash

Abstract

It is often argued that multi-dimensional measures of well-being and poverty -- such as those based on the capability approach and related views -- are ad hoc. Rankings based on them are not, for this reason, robust to changes in the selection of weights used. In this paper, it is argued that the extent of potential arbitrariness and the range of issues relating to robustness have been underestimated in this context. Several issues relating to both the identification of the poor and the use of dimension- specific data are distinguished. For illustrative purposes, these distinct issues are discussed in the context of the inter-provincial ranking of poverty in South Africa in 1995-1996. It turns out that this ranking is fairly robust, and that an important policy-relevant result involving a comparison between KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State in 'income'/'expenditure' and 'human' poverty rankings is reinforced rather than undermined by checking for robustness. Even when the rankings are not robust, the discussion suggests that they may inform policy debates.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Human Development and Capabilities.

Volume (Year): 5 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 355-375

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jhudca:v:5:y:2004:i:3:p:355-375

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Related research

Keywords: Poverty; Measurement; Capability; South Africa; Economics; Income poverty; Human poverty;

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References

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  1. Qizilbash, Mozaffar, 1997. "Pluralism and well-being indices," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(12), pages 2009-2026, December.
  2. Mozaffar Qizilbash, 2001. "Vague language and precise measurement: the case of poverty," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(1), pages 41-58.
  3. Klasen, Stephan, 2000. "Measuring Poverty and Deprivation in South Africa," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(1), pages 33-58, March.
  4. Murray Leibbrandt & Ingrid Woolard, 1999. "A comparison of poverty in South Africa's nine provinces," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 37-54.
  5. Maasoumi, Esfandiar, 1986. "The Measurement and Decomposition of Multi-dimensional Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 991-97, July.
  6. Atkinson, Anthony B & Bourguignon, Francois, 1982. "The Comparison of Multi-Dimensioned Distributions of Economic Status," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 183-201, April.
  7. A. Atkinson, 2003. "Multidimensional Deprivation: Contrasting Social Welfare and Counting Approaches," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 51-65, April.
  8. Atkinson, A B, 1987. "On the Measurement of Poverty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 749-64, July.
  9. Stephan Klasen, 1997. "Poverty, Inequality and Deprivation in South Africa: An Analysis of the 1993 SALDRU Survey," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 51-94, July.
  10. Sudhir Anand & Amartya Sen, 2000. "The Income Component of the Human Development Index," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 83-106.
  11. Mozaffar Qizilbash, 2002. "A note on the measurement of poverty and vulnerability in the South African context," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(6), pages 757-772.
  12. François Bourguignon & Satya R. Chakravarty, 2002. "Multi-dimensional poverty orderings," DELTA Working Papers 2002-22, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  13. François Bourguignon & Satya Chakravarty, 2003. "The Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 25-49, April.
  14. Indranil Dutta & Prasanta K. Pattanaik & Yongsheng Xu, 2003. "On Measuring Deprivation and the Standard of Living in a Multidimensional Framework on the Basis of Aggregate Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(278), pages 197-221, 05.
  15. Ravallion, Martin, 1994. "Poverty rankings using noisy data on living standards," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 481-485, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Tania Burchardt, 2006. "Foundations for measuring equality: a discussion paper for the equalities review," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6236, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Sachie Mizohata & Raynald Jadoul, 2013. "Towards International and Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration for the Measurements of Quality of Life," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 111(3), pages 683-708, May.
  3. Cecilia Albert Verdú & María A. Davia Rodríguez, 2009. "Monetary poverty, education exclusion and material deprivation amongst youth in Spain," Alcamentos 0903, Universidad de Alcalá, Departamento de Economía..
  4. Croci Angelini, Elisabetta & Michelangeli, Alessandra, 2012. "Axiomatic measurement of multidimensional well-being inequality: Some distributional questions," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 548-557.
  5. Motkuri, Venkatanarayana, 2005. "Educational Development Index Based on DISE data for Districts of Uttar Pradesh," MPRA Paper 48413, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Motkuri, Venkatanarayana, 2007. "Measuring the Human Development or Deprivation : A Review of (Different Composite Index) Methods," MPRA Paper 48506, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Berenger, Valerie & Verdier-Chouchane, Audrey, 2007. "Multidimensional Measures of Well-Being: Standard of Living and Quality of Life Across Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 1259-1276, July.
  8. Tania Burchardt, 2006. "Foundations for measuring equality: A discussion paper for the Equalities Review," CASE Papers case111, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.

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