Monitoring Progress in Child Poverty Reduction: Methodological Insights and Illustration to the Case Study of Bangladesh
Important steps have been taken at international summits to set up goals and targets to improve the wellbeing of children worldwide. Now the world also has more and better data to monitor progress. This paper presents a new approach to monitoring progress in child poverty reduction based on the Alkire and Foster adjusted headcount ratio and an array of complementary techniques. A theoretical discussion is accompanied by an assessment of child poverty reduction in Bangladesh based on four rounds of the Demographic Household Survey (1997-2007). Emphasis is given to dimensional monotonicity and decomposability as desirable properties of multidimensional poverty measures. Complementary techniques for analysing changes over time are also illustrated, including the Shapley decomposition of changes in overall poverty, as well as a range of robustness tests and statistical significance tests. The results from Bangladesh illustrate the value added of these new tools and the information they provide for policy. The analysis reveals two paths to multidimensional poverty reduction - either decreasing the incidence of poverty or its intensity - and exposes an uneven distribution of national gains across geographical divisions. The methodology allows an integrated analysis of overall changes yet simultaneously examines progress in each region and in each dimension, retaining the positive features of dashboard approaches. The empirical evidence highlights the need to move beyond the headcount ratio towards new measures of child poverty that reflect the intensity of poverty and multiple deprivations that affect poor children at the same time.
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