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Multidimensional poverty analysis: Looking for a middle ground

  • Ferreira, Francisco H. G.
  • Lugo, Maria Ana

Widespread agreement that poverty is a multifaceted phenomenon, encompassing deprivations along multiple dimensions, clashes with often vociferous disagreement about how best to measure these deprivations. Drawing on the recent literature, this short note proposes three methodological alternatives to the false dichotomy between scalar indices of multidimensional poverty, on the one hand, and a"dashboard"approach that looks only at marginal distributions, on the other. These alternatives include simple Venn diagrams of the overlap of deprivations across dimensions, multivariate stochastic dominance analysis, and the analysis of copula functions, which capture the extent of interdependency across dimensions. Examples from the literature on both developing and developed countries are provided.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5964.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5964
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  1. Bourguignon, F. & Chakravarty, S.R., 1998. "The Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty," DELTA Working Papers 98-12, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  2. Jean-Yves Duclos & David E. Sahn & Stephen D. Younger, 2006. "Robust Multidimensional Poverty Comparisons," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(514), pages 943-968, October.
  3. Francisco Ferreira, 2011. "Poverty is multidimensional. But what are we going to do about it?," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 493-495, September.
  4. Chakravarty, Satya R. & Deutsch, Joseph & Silber, Jacques, 2008. "On the Watts Multidimensional Poverty Index and its Decomposition," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 1067-1077, June.
  5. Maasoumi, Esfandiar & Lugo, Maria, 2006. "The Information Basis of Multivariate Poverty Assessments," Departmental Working Papers 0603, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
  6. Koen DECANCQ & María Ana LUGO, 2010. "Weights in multidimensional indices of well-being: an overview," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces10.06, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
  7. Anthony B. Atkinson & Maria Ana Lugo, 2010. "Growth, poverty and distribution in Tanzania," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 36376, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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