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  • Sabina Alkire and James Foster

Abstract

Multidimensional measures provide an alternative lens through which poverty may be viewed and understood. In recent work we have attempted to offer a practical approach to identifying the poor and measuring aggregate poverty (Alkire and Foster 2011). As this is quite a departure from traditional unidimensional and multidimensional poverty measurement – particularly with respect to the identification step – further elaboration may be warranted. In this paper we elucidate the strengths, limitations, and misunderstandings of multidimensional poverty measurement in order to clarify the debate and catalyse further research. We begin with general definitions of unidimensional and multidimensional methodologies for measuring poverty. We provide an intuitive description of our measurement approach, including a ‘dual cutoff’ identification step that views poverty as the state of being multiply deprived, and an aggregation step based on the traditional Foster Greer and Thorbecke (FGT) measures. We briefly discuss five characteristics of our methodology that are easily overlooked or mistaken and conclude with some brief remarks on the way forward.

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Paper provided by Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford in its series OPHI Working Papers with number ophiwp043b.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:qeh:ophiwp:ophiwp043b

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  1. Sabina Alkire and James Foster, 2011. "Understandings and Misunderstandings of Multidimensional Poverty Measurement," OPHI Working Papers, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford ophiwp043, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  2. Alkire, Sabina & Santos, María Emma, 2011. "Acute Multidimensional Poverty: A New Index for Developing Countries," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics 3, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  3. Martin Ravallion, 2011. "On multidimensional indices of poverty," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 235-248, June.
  4. Alkire, Sabina & Foster, James, 2011. "Counting and multidimensional poverty measurement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 476-487, August.
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Cited by:
  1. José Roche, 2013. "Monitoring Progress in Child Poverty Reduction: Methodological Insights and Illustration to the Case Study of Bangladesh," Social Indicators Research, Springer, Springer, vol. 112(2), pages 363-390, June.
  2. Sabina Alkire & Maria Santos, 2013. "A Multidimensional Approach: Poverty Measurement & Beyond," Social Indicators Research, Springer, Springer, vol. 112(2), pages 239-257, June.
  3. Alkire, Sabina & Meinzen-Dick, Ruth & Peterman, Amber & Quisumbing, Agnes & Seymour, Greg & Vaz, Ana, 2013. "The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 71-91.
  4. Sabina Alkire and Maria Emma Santos, 2013. "Measuring Acute Poverty in the Developing World: Robustness and Scope of the Multidimensional Poverty Index," OPHI Working Papers, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford ophiwp059, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.

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