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How are we doing on poverty and hunger reduction? A new measure of country performance


  • Gentilini, Ugo
  • Webb, Patrick


The paper presents a new composite indicator - the poverty and hunger index (PHI) - to measure countries' performance toward achieving millennium development goal No.1 (MDG1) on halving poverty and hunger by 2015. Building on the statistical structure of the human development index, the PHI combines all five official MDG1 indicators, thereby generating insights on a country's net progress towards its own goal, as opposed to progress measured by a single yardstick. Nonparametric analysis on the PHI components provides further evidence on the nature of the relationship between poverty and hunger measures, while cross-country results show significant variance in progress between and within regions. An extension of the PHI allows for consideration of the rate of progress made by each country in its own terms; that is, based on where it needs to be to attain all 5 MDG1 targets by 2015. Countries needing priority attention are identified, as well as areas for future research and recommendations for post-2015 initiatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Gentilini, Ugo & Webb, Patrick, 2008. "How are we doing on poverty and hunger reduction? A new measure of country performance," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 521-532, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:33:y:2008:i:6:p:521-532

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Giannetti, B.F. & Almeida, C.M.V.B. & Bonilla, S.H., 2010. "Comparing emergy accounting with well-known sustainability metrics: The case of Southern Cone Common Market, Mercosur," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 3518-3526, July.
    3. Ben Slimane, Mehdi & Huchet-Bourdon, Marilyne & Zitouna, Habib, 2016. "The role of sectoral FDI in promoting agricultural production and improving food security," International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 50-65.
    4. Masset, Edoardo, 2011. "A review of hunger indices and methods to monitor country commitment to fighting hunger," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(S1), pages 102-108.
    5. Santeramo, Fabio Gaetano, 2014. "On the composite indicators for food security: Decisions matter!," MPRA Paper 58955, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Morales-Opazo, Cristian & Barreiro-Hurlé, Jesús, 2011. "Reconsiderando la metodología FAO sobre el cálculo del número de personas que pasan hambre en el mundo," Economia Agraria y Recursos Naturales, Spanish Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 11(2).
    7. Ugo Gentilini & Andy Sumner, 2012. "Poverty Where People Live: What Do National Poverty Lines Tell us About Global Poverty?," One Pager 182, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    8. Jessica Fanzo, 2012. "The Nutrition Challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa," UNDP Africa Policy Notes 2012-012, United Nations Development Programme, Regional Bureau for Africa.
    9. Yu, Bingxin & You, Liangzhi & Fan, Shenggen, 2010. "Toward a typology of food security in developing countries:," IFPRI discussion papers 945, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).


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