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Measuring Human Poverty: A Generalized Index and an Application Using Basic Dimensions of Life and Some Anthropometric Indicators

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  • Satya Chakravarty
  • Amita Majumder

Abstract

The Human Poverty Index (HPI) is a composite index of poverty that focuses on deprivations in human lives, aimed at measuring poverty as a failure in capabilities in multiple dimensions, in contrast to the conventional headcount measure focused on low incomes. The HPI was introduced in the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report 1997 and concentrates on deprivations in basic dimensions of life. This paper develops an axiomatic characterization of a family of global deprivation indices using an arbitrary number of dimensions of human life. When we consider only the three basic dimensions, a member of this family becomes ordinally equivalent to HPI. The general index allows the calculation of percentage contributions of deprivations in different dimensions, and hence to identify the dimensions whose failures affect the overall deprivation more. This is important from a policy perspective. We also provide an empirical illustration of the characterized indices using cross-country data for the three basic dimensions and the anthropometric indicators birth weight, height for age and nourishment.

Suggested Citation

  • Satya Chakravarty & Amita Majumder, 2005. "Measuring Human Poverty: A Generalized Index and an Application Using Basic Dimensions of Life and Some Anthropometric Indicators," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 275-299.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jhudca:v:6:y:2005:i:3:p:275-299
    DOI: 10.1080/14649880500287605
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ankita Mishra & Ranjan Ray, 2010. "Multi Dimensional Deprivation in the Awakening Giants: A Comparative Study on Micro Data," Monash Economics Working Papers 53-10, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    2. Rolf Aaberge & Andrea Brandolini, 2014. "Multidimensional poverty and inequality," Discussion Papers 792, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    3. Ranjan Ray & Kompal Sinha, 2015. "Multidimensional Deprivation in China, India and Vietnam: A Comparative Study on Micro Data," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 69-93, February.
    4. Steckel, Richard H., 2009. "Heights and human welfare: Recent developments and new directions," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-23, January.
    5. Aaron Nicholas & Ranjan Ray, 2012. "Duration and Persistence in Multidimensional Deprivation: Methodology and Australian Application," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 88(280), pages 106-126, March.
    6. Ankita Mishra & Ranjan Ray, 2013. "Multi-Dimensional Deprivation in India During and After the Reforms: Do the Household Expenditure and the Family Health Surveys Present Consistent Evidence?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 110(2), pages 791-818, January.
    7. Ricardo Paes de Barros & Mirela de Carvalho & Samuel Franco, 2006. "Pobreza Multidimensional no Brasil," Discussion Papers 1227, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
    8. Ray, Ranjan & Mishra, Ankita, 2012. "Multi-dimensional deprivation in the awakening giants: A comparison of China and India on micro data," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 454-465.

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