Implementing a Multidimensional Poverty Measure Using Mixed Methods and a Participatory Framework
34 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2012 Last revised: 24 Aug 2014
Date Written: May 1, 2011
Recently, there have been advances in the development of multidimensional poverty measures. Work is needed however on how to implement such measures. This paper deals with the process of selecting dimensions and setting weights in multidimensional poverty measurement using qualitative and quantitative methods in a participatory framework. We estimate the multidimensional poverty measures developed by Alkire and Foster for a particular group: persons with psychiatric diagnoses in the United States. To select relevant dimensions and their relative ordering, two discussion groups are convened: one consisting of persons with lived-experience expertise and the other consisting of people with mental health service provision or research expertise. Several methods are used to convert dimension rankings into weights.
The selection and ordering of dimensions differed between the two discussion groups, as did the resulting poverty measures. For instance, the poverty headcount using the dimensions and weights of the ‘lived experience’ group ranged from 20.61% to 26.96% as compared to a range of 18.62% to 33.19% using those of the ‘provider/researcher’ group. One of the main results of this study is that the Alkire Foster method is sensitive to the selection of dimensions and the methods used to derive rankings and weights. It points toward the limitation of relying exclusively on small scale qualitative methods for the selection and ranking of dimensions. In addition, the participatory framework used in this study was found to be essential in interpreting results, in particular with respect to the limitations of the data set in measuring relevant dimensions.
Keywords: Multidimensional Poverty, Mixed Methods, Participatory Research, Mental Health
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