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Multidimensional Poverty Reduction in India between 1999 and 2006: Where and How?

  • Sabina Alkire and Suman Seth

India has witnessed high economic growth since the 1980s, and a reduction in the share of income poor, though the measured extent of this reduction varies, has been confirmed by different methods. Poverty, however, has multiple dimensions, hence this paper explores the improvement in other social deprivations. An analysis of poverty from a multidimensional perspective shows the prevalence of multiple overlapping deprivations among the poor. This paper analyses the change in multidimensional poverty in India between 1999 and 2006 using National Family and Health Surveys. We find a strong reduction in national poverty driven relatively more by some of the standard of living indicators, such as electricity, housing condition, access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation facilities, than other social indicators. The reduction, however, has not been uniform across different population subgroups and the pattern of reduction across states has been less pro-poor that of income poverty. In addition, the poorer subgroups have shown slower progress, widening the inter-group disparity in multidimensional poverty. In order to examine trends among the poorest of the poor, we define two additional subgroups of the poor and find that multidimensional poverty reduction has been accompanied by even stronger reductions in the share of the poorest of the poor by both definitions. The in-depth analysis pursued in this paper can also be conducted for other developing countries.

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Paper provided by Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford in its series OPHI Working Papers with number ophiwp060.

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Date of creation: Mar 2013
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Handle: RePEc:qeh:ophiwp:ophiwp060
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  1. Sabina Alkire and Suman Seth, 2012. "Selecting a Targeting Method to Identify BPL Households in India," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp053, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  2. Alkire, Sabina & Foster, James, 2011. "Counting and multidimensional poverty measurement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 476-487.
  3. Angus Deaton & Jean Dreze, 2002. "Poverty and Inequality in India: A Re-Examination," Working Papers 184, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  4. (No last name available), Himanshu, 2013. "Poverty and Food Security in India," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 369, Asian Development Bank.
  5. 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.
  6. François Bourguignon & Satya Chakravarty, 2003. "The Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 25-49, April.
  7. Ahmed, Akhter U. & Hill, Ruth Vargas & Smith, Lisa C. & Wiesmann, Doris M. & Frankenberger, Tim & Gulati, Kajal & Quabili, Wahidand & Yohannes, Yisehac, 2007. "The world's most deprived: Characteristics and causes of extreme poverty and hunger," 2020 vision discussion papers 43, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  8. A. Atkinson, 2003. "Multidimensional Deprivation: Contrasting Social Welfare and Counting Approaches," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 51-65, April.
  9. Satya R. Chakravarty & Conchita D'Ambrosio, 2003. "The Measurement of Social Exclusion," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 364, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  10. Kai-yuen Tsui, 2002. "Multidimensional poverty indices," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 69-93.
  11. Cornia, Giovanni Andrea, 1994. "Poverty, Food Consumption, and Nutrition during the Transition to the Market Economy in Eastern Europe," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 297-302, May.
  12. 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, Springer, vol. 110(2), pages 791-818, January.
  13. Woden, Q., 2001. "Attacking Extreme Poverty. Learning from the Experience of the International Movement ATD Fourth World," Papers 502, World Bank - Technical Papers.
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