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On the Arbitrariness and Robustness of Multi-Dimensional Poverty Rankings

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  • Mozaffar Qizilbash

Abstract

It is often argued that multi-dimensional measures of well-being and poverty -- such as those based on the capability approach and related views -- are ad hoc. Rankings based on them are not, for this reason, robust to changes in the selection of weights used. In this paper, it is argued that the extent of potential arbitrariness and the range of issues relating to robustness have been underestimated in this context. Several issues relating to both the identification of the poor and the use of dimension- specific data are distinguished. For illustrative purposes, these distinct issues are discussed in the context of the inter-provincial ranking of poverty in South Africa in 1995-1996. It turns out that this ranking is fairly robust, and that an important policy-relevant result involving a comparison between KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State in 'income'/'expenditure' and 'human' poverty rankings is reinforced rather than undermined by checking for robustness. Even when the rankings are not robust, the discussion suggests that they may inform policy debates.

Suggested Citation

  • Mozaffar Qizilbash, 2004. "On the Arbitrariness and Robustness of Multi-Dimensional Poverty Rankings," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 355-375.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jhudca:v:5:y:2004:i:3:p:355-375
    DOI: 10.1080/1464988042000277242
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mozaffar Qizilbash, 2002. "A note on the measurement of poverty and vulnerability in the South African context," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(6), pages 757-772.
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    10. Qizilbash, Mozaffar, 1997. "Pluralism and well-being indices," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(12), pages 2009-2026, December.
    11. Stephan Klasen, 1997. "Poverty, Inequality and Deprivation in South Africa: An Analysis of the 1993 SALDRU Survey," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 51-94, July.
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    14. Indranil Dutta & Prasanta K. Pattanaik & Yongsheng Xu, 2003. "On Measuring Deprivation and the Standard of Living in a Multidimensional Framework on the Basis of Aggregate Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(278), pages 197-221, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Croci Angelini, Elisabetta & Michelangeli, Alessandra, 2012. "Axiomatic measurement of multidimensional well-being inequality: Some distributional questions," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 548-557.
    2. Berenger, Valerie & Verdier-Chouchane, Audrey, 2007. "Multidimensional Measures of Well-Being: Standard of Living and Quality of Life Across Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 1259-1276, July.
    3. Motkuri, Venkatanarayana, 2005. "Educational Development Index Based on DISE data for Districts of Uttar Pradesh," MPRA Paper 48413, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Burchardt, Tania, 2006. "Foundations for measuring equality: a discussion paper for the equalities review," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6236, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Patricia Justino, 2012. "Multidimensional welfare distributions: empirical application to household panel data from Vietnam," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(26), pages 3391-3405, September.
    6. Motkuri, Venkatanarayana, 2007. "Measuring the Human Development or Deprivation : A Review of (Different Composite Index) Methods," MPRA Paper 48506, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Sachie Mizohata & Raynald Jadoul, 2013. "Towards International and Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration for the Measurements of Quality of Life," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 111(3), pages 683-708, May.
    8. Sung-Geun Kim, 2016. "What Have We Called as “Poverty”? A Multidimensional and Longitudinal Perspective," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(1), pages 229-276, October.
    9. Tania Burchardt, 2006. "Foundations for measuring equality: A discussion paper for the Equalities Review," CASE Papers case111, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    10. Cecilia Albert Verdú & María A. Davia Rodríguez, 2009. "Monetary poverty, education exclusion and material deprivation amongst youth in Spain," Alcamentos 0903, Universidad de Alcalá, Departamento de Economía..
    11. Dehury, Bidyadhar & Mohanty, Sanjay K., 2015. "Regional estimates of multidimensional poverty in India," Economics Discussion Papers 2015-34, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    12. AfDB AfDB, 2006. "Working Paper 83 - Are African Countries Richer Than They Are Developed? A Multidimensional Analysis of Well-Being," Working Paper Series 2217, African Development Bank.
    13. AfDB AfDB, 2006. "Working Paper 83 - Are African Countries Richer Than They Are Developed? A Multidimensional Analysis of Well-Being," Working Paper Series 2297, African Development Bank.

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