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How Are We Doing on Poverty and Hunger Reduction?: A New Measure of Country-Level Progress

  • Ugo Gentilini
  • Patrick Webb
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    The Millennium Development Goal No. 1 (MDG-1) aims to halve the number of people affected by poverty and hunger by 2015. Poverty and hunger are closely related overlapping phenomena, but they are not identical. Each affects different sets of people or countries in different ways, and their resolution requires linked, but still distinct, policy and programmatic actions. As a result, 5 individual measures were identified to assess progress to the goal. These 5 indicators reflect somewhat different dimensions of the overall problem, and progress in one domain does not guarantee progress in each of the others. For example, reducing the number of poor people does not preclude an increase in the number of malnourished in the same country. Thus, a composite measure of MDG-1 progress (MoP) is proposed here that determines net advance across all 5 measures together. Expanding on the statistical methodology of the widely-used Human Development Index (HDI) the MoP can be used to assess, a) where countries stand in terms of progress to MDG-1 relative to other nations (a conventional ranking along the lines of the HDI); b) which have made adequate (or inadequate) progress in their own terms--progress relative to their own standing on the 5 measures in 1990; and c) which elements of hunger and poverty require the most urgent remedial action, since residual problems differ considerably from one location to another.

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    File URL: http://www.nutrition.tufts.edu/documents/fpan/wp31-poverty_hunder_reduction.pdf
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    Paper provided by Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in its series Working Papers in Food Policy and Nutrition with number 31.

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    Length: 25 pages
    Date of creation: May 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:fsn:wpaper:31
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.nutrition.tufts.edu

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    1. Sudhir Anand & Amartya Sen, 2000. "The Income Component of the Human Development Index," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 83-106.
    2. Theo S Eicher & Cecilia Garcia Penalosa, . "Inequality and Growth," Working Papers 0083, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
    3. Desai, Meghnad, 1991. "Human development : Concepts and measurement," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(2-3), pages 350-357, April.
    4. Chen, Shaohua & Ravallion, Martin, 2004. "How Have the World's Poorest Fared Since the Early 1980s?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3341, The World Bank.
    5. Satya R. Chakravarty, 2003. "A Generalized Human Development Index," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(1), pages 99-114, February.
    6. Christiaensen, Luc & Alderman, Harold, 2004. "Child Malnutrition in Ethiopia: Can Maternal Knowledge Augment the Role of Income?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(2), pages 287-312, January.
    7. David De Ferranti & Guillermo E. Perry & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Michael Walton, 2004. "Inequality in Latin America : Breaking with History?," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15009.
    8. Ravallion, Martin, 2004. "Pro-poor growth : A primer," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3242, The World Bank.
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