Multidimensional Poverty Measurement in Europe: An Application of the Adjusted Headcount Approach
As awareness of the limitations of relying solely on income to measure poverty and social exclusion has become more widespread, attention has been increasingly focused on multi-dimensional approaches. To date efforts to measure multidimensional poverty and social exclusion in rich countries have been predominantly ad hoc and have relied on data that are far from ideal. Here we apply the approach recently developed by Alkire and Foster, characterized by a range of desirable axiomatic properties but mostly discussed so far in a development context, to European countries, exploiting the potential of harmonized microdata on deprivation newly available for the European Union. The analysis seeks to overcome the limitations of the union and intersection approaches that have characterized many earlier studies. Multidimensional poverty is characterized and decomposed in terms of the contribution of different deprivation dimensions, and an account of cross-national and socio-economic variation in risk levels is presented that is in line with theoretical expectations. Multilevel analysis of multi-dimensional poverty provides the basis for assessment of the role of macro and micro characteristics and their interaction in relation to levels and patterns of multidimensional poverty and social exclusion.
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