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The Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty

  • François Bourguignon
  • Satya Chakravarty

Many authors have insisted on the necessity of defining poverty as a multi-dimensional concept rather than relying on income or consumption expenditures per capita. Yet, not much has actually been done to include the various dimensions of deprivation into the practical definition and measurement of poverty. Existing attempts along that direction consist of aggregating various attributes into a single index through some arbitrary function and defining a poverty line and associated poverty measures on the basis of that index. All this is merely redefining the more general concept of poverty, which then essentially remains a uni-dimensional concept. On the contrary, the present paper suggests that the only way to truly take into account the multi-dimensionality of poverty is to specify a poverty line for each dimension of poverty and to consider that a person is poor if he/she falls below at least one of these various lines. The paper then explores ways to combine these various poverty lines and associated one-dimensional gaps into multi-dimensional poverty measures to be evaluated on samples of individuals or households.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1023/A:1023913831342
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Article provided by Springer in its journal The Journal of Economic Inequality.

Volume (Year): 1 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 25-49

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jecinq:v:1:y:2003:i:1:p:25-49
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  1. Ravallion, Martin, 1996. "Issues in measuring and modeling poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1615, The World Bank.
  2. Zheng, Buhong, 1997. " Aggregate Poverty Measures," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(2), pages 123-62, June.
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  13. Blakorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1980. "Ethical Indices for the Measurement of Poverty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 1053-60, May.
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