Counting and Multidimensional Poverty Measurement

Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 95, No. 7-8, 2011

OPHI Working Paper 32, December 2009

44 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2012

See all articles by Sabina Alkire

Sabina Alkire

Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative

James E. Foster

George Washington University

Date Written: November 4, 2010

Abstract

This paper proposes a new methodology for multidimensional poverty measurement consisting of an identification method ρk that extends the traditional intersection and union approaches, and a class of poverty measures Mα. Our identification step employs two forms of cutoff: one within each dimension to determine whether a person is deprived in that dimension, and a second across dimensions that identifies the poor by ‘counting’ the dimensions in which a person is deprived. The aggregation step employs the FGT measures, appropriately adjusted to account for multidimensionality. The axioms are presented as joint restrictions on identification and the measures, and the methodology satisfies a range of desirable properties including decomposability. The identification method is particularly well suited for use with ordinal data, as is the first of our measures, the adjusted headcount ratio. We present some dominance results and an interpretation of the adjusted headcount ratio as a measure of unfreedom. Examples from the US and Indonesia illustrate our methodology.

Keywords: Multidimensional poverty measurement, capability approach, identification, FGT measures

JEL Classification: I3, I32, D63, O1, H1

Suggested Citation

Alkire, Sabina and Foster, James E., Counting and Multidimensional Poverty Measurement (November 4, 2010). Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 95, No. 7-8, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2118559

Sabina Alkire (Contact Author)

Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative ( email )

Queen Elizabeth House
3 Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3TB
United Kingdom

James E. Foster

George Washington University ( email )

2121 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States

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