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Non-Monetary Indicators and Multiple Dimensions: The ESRI Approach to Poverty Measurement

Author

Listed:
  • Dorothy Watson

    (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin and Trinity College Dublin)

  • Christopher T. Whelan

    (University College Dublin)

  • Bertrand Maître

    (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin and Trinity College Dublin)

  • James Williams

    (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin and Trinity College Dublin)

Abstract

This paper seeks to distil the lessons on poverty measurement from a period that extends back to the early days of poverty research at the ESRI in the mid to late 1980s. What was the problem to which non-monetary indicators was the solution? How were the indicators chosen and justified? What have we learned about the role and limitations of non-monetary indicators? What are the key future challenges? It makes clear that a variety of approaches are required to do justice to the complex and multi-faceted nature of poverty. The essential elements of the definition of poverty underpinning the research at the ESRI has been that poverty is something rooted in a lack of resources that results in exclusion from the customary standard of living. In pursuing such understanding over the last thirty years, the ESRI research programme has sought to develop measures exhibiting satisfactory levels of reliability and validity which are subject to re-evaluation in changing circumstances. The paper demonstrates that, viewed from a broader sociological perspective on social stratification, the fact that the complexities of poverty and social exclusion are far from being adequately captured by a single indicator relating to current disposable income is not surprising. Measurement of poverty must be viewed within a broader framework relating to the socially structured nature of disadvantage and social inequality. As a consequence poverty targets need to be framed in a manner which focuses attention on long-term structural issues.

Suggested Citation

  • Dorothy Watson & Christopher T. Whelan & Bertrand Maître & James Williams, 2017. "Non-Monetary Indicators and Multiple Dimensions: The ESRI Approach to Poverty Measurement," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 48(4), pages 369-392.
  • Handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:48:y:2017:i:4:p:369-392
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alkire, Sabina & Foster, James, 2011. "Counting and multidimensional poverty measurement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 476-487, August.
    2. Brian Nolan & Christopher T. Whelan, 2010. "Using non-monetary deprivation indicators to analyze poverty and social exclusion: Lessons from Europe?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(2), pages 305-325.
    3. Layte, Richard & Maitre, Bernard & Nolan, Brian & Watson, Dorothy & Williams, James & Casey, Barra, 2001. "Monitoring Poverty Trends and Exploring Poverty Dynamics in Ireland," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number PRS41.
    4. Nolan, Brian & Whelan, Christopher T., 1996. "Resources, Deprivation, and Poverty," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287858.
    5. repec:esr:resser:rs56 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Christopher T. Whelan & Helen Russell & Bertrand Maître, 2016. "Economic Stress and the Great Recession in Ireland: Polarization, Individualization or ‘Middle Class Squeeze’?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 126(2), pages 503-526, March.
    7. Christopher T. Whelan & Bertrand Maitre, 2012. "Identifying Childhood Deprivation: How Well Do National Indicators of Poverty and Social Exclusion in Ireland Perform?," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 43(2), pages 251-272.
    8. Bertrand Maître & Brian Nolan & Christopher T. Whelan, 2014. "L'indicateur EU2020 de suivi de la pauvreté et de l'exclusion : une analyse critique," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 469(1), pages 147-167.
    9. Christopher T. Whelan, 2007. "Understanding the Implications of Choice of Deprivation Index for Measuring Consistent Poverty in Ireland," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 38(2), pages 211-234.
    10. Christopher T. Whelan & Brian Nolan & Bertrand Maître, 2006. "Trends in Economic Vulnerability in the Republic of Ireland," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 37(1), pages 91-119.
    11. Nolan, Brian & Whelan, Christopher T., 2011. "Poverty and Deprivation in Europe," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199588435.
    12. repec:spr:soinre:v:133:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1350-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. A. Atkinson, 2003. "Multidimensional Deprivation: Contrasting Social Welfare and Counting Approaches," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 1(1), pages 51-65, April.
    14. Eric Crettaz & Christian Suter, 2013. "The Impact of Adaptive Preferences on Subjective Indicators: An Analysis of Poverty Indicators," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 114(1), pages 139-152, October.
    15. repec:esr:resser:bkmnext213 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Christopher T. Whelan & Brian Nolan & Bertrand Maitre, 2017. "Polarization or “Squeezed Middle” in the Great Recession?: A Comparative European Analysis of the Distribution of Economic Stress," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 133(1), pages 163-184, August.
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    Keywords

    poverty; metrics; Ireland;

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