Multidimensional indices of achievements and poverty: What do we gain and what do we lose?
Poverty and wellbeing are multi-dimensional. Nobody questions that deprivations and achievements go beyond income. There is, however, sharp disagreement on whether the various dimensions of poverty and wellbeing can be aggregated into a single, multi-dimensional index in a meaningful way. Is aggregating dimensions of poverty and wellbeing useful? Is it sensible? Here I summarize and contrast three key papers that respond these questions in strikingly different ways. The papers are: The HDI 2010: New Controversies, Old Critiques by Jeni Klugman, Francisco Rodríguez and Hyung-Jin Choi; Understandings and Misunderstandings of Multidimensional Poverty Measurement by Sabina Alkire and James Foster; and, On Multidimensional Indices of Poverty by Martin Ravallion.