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Multidimensional poverty assessment: applying the capability approach


  • John Ele‐Ojo Ataguba
  • Hyacinth Eme Ichoku
  • William M. Fonta


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to compare the assessment of poverty/deprivation using different conceptions of this phenomenon including the traditional money‐metric measure and different forms of multidimensional constructs. Design/methodology/approach - The data were drawn from a household survey conducted in Nsukka, Nigeria. Interviewer‐administered questionnaires were used in data collection from about 410 households across urban and rural localities. The counting and FGT methodologies were used to assess impoverishment, while regression analyses were used to assess the determinants of deprivation across different constructs. Findings - Between 70 per cent and 78 per cent of the study population were identified as poor/deprived. However, more than 11 per cent of those living on less than USD1.25/day were classified as non‐poor using different measures of multidimensional poverty. Similarly, more than 62 per cent of individuals who live on more than 1.25USD/day (i.e. non‐poor) are classified as poor using different measures of multidimensional deprivation. There is some level of correlation between measures, some inevitably stronger than others. The major determinants of deprivation across the various constructs of deprivation include large family size, low level of education, poor employment, rural location, and poor health. Originality/value - This paper uses novel datasets that incorporate variables relating to the capability approach in understanding deprivation. Specifically, it analyses the so‐called missing dimensions of poverty. It also applies a new methodology for the assessment of impoverishment and deprivation. It highlights the importance of the capability approach in explaining poverty.

Suggested Citation

  • John Ele‐Ojo Ataguba & Hyacinth Eme Ichoku & William M. Fonta, 2013. "Multidimensional poverty assessment: applying the capability approach," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, vol. 40(4), pages 331-354, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijsepp:v:40:y:2013:i:4:p:331-354
    DOI: 10.1108/03068291311305017

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    Cited by:

    1. Christoph Bader & Sabin Bieri & Urs Wiesmann & Andreas Heinimann, 2016. "Differences Between Monetary and Multidimensional Poverty in the Lao PDR: Implications for Targeting of Poverty Reduction Policies and Interventions," Poverty & Public Policy, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 8(2), pages 171-197, June.
    2. Aysenur Acar, 2014. "The Dynamics of Multidimensional Poverty in Turkey," Working Papers 014, Bahcesehir University, Betam.
    3. William M. Fonta & Sylvain F. Nkwenkeu & Mukesh Lath & Amelie Hollebecque & Boukari Ouedraogo & Seidi Sirajo, 2019. "Multidimensional Poverty Assessment among Adolescent Children in the Mouhoun Region of Burkina Faso, West Africa," Child Indicators Research, Springer;The International Society of Child Indicators (ISCI), vol. 12(4), pages 1287-1318, August.
    4. Megbowon Ebenezer Toyin, 2018. "Multidimensional Poverty Analysis of Urban and Rural Households in South Africa," Studia Universitatis Babeș-Bolyai Oeconomica, Sciendo, vol. 63(1), pages 3-19, April.
    5. Vollmer, Frank & Zorrilla-Miras, Pedro & Baumert, Sophia & Luz, Ana Catarina & Woollen, Emily & Grundy, Isla & Artur, Luis & Ribeiro, Natasha & Mahamane, Mansour & Patenaude, Genevieve, 2017. "Charcoal income as a means to a valuable end: Scope and limitations of income from rural charcoal production to alleviate acute multidimensional poverty in Mabalane district, southern Mozambique," World Development Perspectives, Elsevier, vol. 7, pages 43-60.
    6. Md. Shahidul Islam & Khurshed Alam, 2018. "Does social capital reduce poverty? A cross-sectional study of rural household in Bangladesh," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, vol. 45(11), pages 1515-1532, August.


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