Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative

The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) is an economic research centre that aims to build a more systematic methodological and economic framework for reducing poverty, grounded in people's experiences and values.


Photo: Gisela Robles Aguilar, Research Officer, OPHI

OPHI develops new methodologies and tools, and applies these with national governments, international organisations and others, mainly in developing countries. OPHI’s work centres on:

Broadening poverty measurement. OPHI develops and implements "multidimensional" measures of poverty, well-being and inequality. These measures go beyond traditional one-dimensional approaches to poverty measurement, to incorporate other aspects such as health, education, living standards, quality of work and more innovative dimensions.

Impacting policy. OPHI's methodologies have been adopted by policy-makers, including the United Nations Development Programme’s flagship Human Development Report (which started publishing OPHI's global Multidimensional Poverty Index – MPI – in 2010) and national governments, including Mexico, Bhutan and Colombia.

Building capacity. OPHI runs academic courses and technical training programmes on multidimensional poverty and human development, and collaborates with universities, development agencies, governments and other research institutions and policy makers using our work. OPHI also publishes its work in leading academic journals, such as such as the Journal of Economic Inequality and Journal of Public Economics and through its own Working Papers and Research in Progress series.

Improving data on poverty. OPHI has developed survey modules to measure five missing dimensions of poverty data that poor people value but which have been largely overlooked in international studies of poverty to date. These dimensions cover: quality of work, empowerment, physical safety, the ability to go about without shame and psychological wellbeing.

OPHI's work is grounded in Amartya Sen's capability approach. OPHI works to implement this approach by creating real, practical tools and methods that inform policies to reduce poverty in all its dimensions.

Established in 2007, the centre is led by Sabina Alkire. OPHI’s advisors are Amartya Sen, Tony Atkinson, Frances Stewart and Sudhir Anand.

Further Information

Tel: +44 (0)1865 271915

Email: ophi@qeh.ox.ac.uk

Website: www.ophi.org.uk