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Water and poverty in rural China: Developing an instrument to assess the multiple dimensions of water and poverty

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  • Cohen, Alasdair
  • Sullivan, Caroline A.

Abstract

This paper describes the theoretical foundations and development of a multidimensional, water-focused, thematic indicator of rural poverty: The Water, Economy, Investment and Learning Assessment Indicator (WEILAI). The WEILAI approach was specifically designed for application in rural China, to support poverty alleviation project planning, monitoring and evaluation, as well as targeting and prioritization. WEILAI builds primarily on the basic needs framework of poverty alleviation, and on the methodological structure of the Water Poverty Index, to provide a proxy measure of an area's poverty by assessing eight key poverty sectors, with a strong focus on the components of water-poverty. The WEILAI approach was piloted and implemented in 534 households in China's mountainous southwest. This paper describes the indicator construction, weighting schemes, methodology, field sites, and statistical validation of the results. In addition, we discuss the results, feedback from in-country project staff, and the likely utility of the tool for project planning, monitoring and evaluation support. The paper concludes with a discussion of WEILAI's overall utility and ongoing development.

Suggested Citation

  • Cohen, Alasdair & Sullivan, Caroline A., 2010. "Water and poverty in rural China: Developing an instrument to assess the multiple dimensions of water and poverty," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(5), pages 999-1009, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:69:y:2010:i:5:p:999-1009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. François Bourguignon & Satya Chakravarty, 2003. "The Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 1(1), pages 25-49, April.
    2. M. Saisana & A. Saltelli & S. Tarantola, 2005. "Uncertainty and sensitivity analysis techniques as tools for the quality assessment of composite indicators," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 168(2), pages 307-323.
    3. Hanjra, Munir A. & Ferede, Tadele & Gutta, Debel Gemechu, 2009. "Reducing poverty in sub-Saharan Africa through investments in water and other priorities," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(7), pages 1062-1070, July.
    4. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 2007. "China's (uneven) progress against poverty," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 1-42, January.
    5. Sullivan, Caroline, 2002. "Calculating a Water Poverty Index," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 1195-1210, July.
    6. Hicks, Norman & Streeten, Paul, 1979. "Indicators of development: The search for a basic needs yardstick," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 7(6), pages 567-580, June.
    7. Hicks, Norman L., 1979. "Growth vs basic needs: Is there a trade-off?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 7(11-12), pages 985-994.
    8. Fan, Shenggen & Zhang, Linxiu & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2002. "Growth, inequality, and poverty in rural China: the role of public investments," Research reports 125, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. Fu, Xiaolan, 2004. "Limited linkages from growth engines and regional disparities in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 148-164, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ricard Giné Garriga & Agustí Pérez Foguet, 2013. "Unravelling the Linkages Between Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Rural Poverty: The WASH Poverty Index," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 27(5), pages 1501-1515, March.
    2. Caroline A Sullivan & Hatem Jemmali, 2014. "Toward Understanding Water Conflicts in MENA Region: A Comparative Analysis Using Water Poverty Index," Working Papers 859, Economic Research Forum, revised Nov 2014.
    3. Danuta Grosbois & Ryan Plummer, 2015. "Problematizing Water Vulnerability Indices at a Local Level: a Critical Review and Proposed Solution," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 29(14), pages 5015-5035, November.
    4. Scheidel, Arnim, 2013. "Flows, funds and the complexity of deprivation: Using concepts from ecological economics for the study of poverty," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 28-36.
    5. Yifan Ding & Deshan Tang & Huichao Dai & Yuhang Wei, 2014. "Human-Water Harmony Index: A New Approach to Assess the Human Water Relationship," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 28(4), pages 1061-1077, March.
    6. Julie Wilk & Anna Jonsson, 2013. "From Water Poverty to Water Prosperity—A More Participatory Approach to Studying Local Water Resources Management," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 27(3), pages 695-713, February.
    7. Mrittika Basu & Satoshi Hoshino & Shizuka Hashimoto, 2016. "A pragmatic analysis of water supply and demand, and adaptive capacity in rural areas: development of Rural Water Insecurity Index," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 81(1), pages 447-466, March.
    8. Ryan Plummer & Rob Loë & Derek Armitage, 2012. "A Systematic Review of Water Vulnerability Assessment Tools," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 26(15), pages 4327-4346, December.

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