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Measuring Human Poverty: A Generalized Index and an Application Using Basic Dimensions of Life and Some Anthropometric Indicators

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  • Satya Chakravarty
  • Amita Majumder

Abstract

The Human Poverty Index (HPI) is a composite index of poverty that focuses on deprivations in human lives, aimed at measuring poverty as a failure in capabilities in multiple dimensions, in contrast to the conventional headcount measure focused on low incomes. The HPI was introduced in the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report 1997 and concentrates on deprivations in basic dimensions of life. This paper develops an axiomatic characterization of a family of global deprivation indices using an arbitrary number of dimensions of human life. When we consider only the three basic dimensions, a member of this family becomes ordinally equivalent to HPI. The general index allows the calculation of percentage contributions of deprivations in different dimensions, and hence to identify the dimensions whose failures affect the overall deprivation more. This is important from a policy perspective. We also provide an empirical illustration of the characterized indices using cross-country data for the three basic dimensions and the anthropometric indicators birth weight, height for age and nourishment.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 6 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 275-299

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jhudca:v:6:y:2005:i:3:p:275-299

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Related research

Keywords: Deprivation; Human poverty; Axioms; Characterization; General index; Basic dimensions of life; Anthropometric indicators;

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Cited by:
  1. Ankita Mishra & Ranjan Ray, 2010. "Multi Dimensional Deprivation in the Awakening Giants: A Comparative Study on Micro Data," Monash Economics Working Papers 53-10, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  2. Ankita Mishra & Ranjan Ray, 2013. "Multi-Dimensional Deprivation in India During and After the Reforms: Do the Household Expenditure and the Family Health Surveys Present Consistent Evidence?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 110(2), pages 791-818, January.
  3. Richard H. Steckel, 2008. "Heights and Human Welfare: Recent Developments and New Directions," NBER Working Papers 14536, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ranjan Ray & Kompal Sinha, 2011. "Multidimensional Deprivation in China, India and Vietnam: A Comparative Study on Micro Data," Monash Economics Working Papers 06-11, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  5. Ricardo Paes de Barros & Mirela de Carvalho & Samuel Franco, 2006. "Pobreza Multidimensional no Brasil," Discussion Papers 1227, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
  6. Aaron Nicholas & Ranjan Ray, 2012. "Duration and Persistence in Multidimensional Deprivation: Methodology and Australian Application," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 88(280), pages 106-126, 03.
  7. Ray, Ranjan & Mishra, Ankita, 2012. "Multi-dimensional deprivation in the awakening giants: A comparison of China and India on micro data," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 454-465.

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