New article co-authored by Sabina Alkire explores changes in multidimensional poverty over time in 34 countries

23 March, 2017

A new paper from the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) at ODID exploring how multidimensional poverty changes over time has been published in World Development.

The paper, co-authored by OPHI Director Sabina Alkire, José Manuel Roche and Ana Vaz, sets out a systemic account of intertemporal changes in multidimensional poverty using the Alkire-Foster Adjusted Headcount Ratio and its consistent sub-indices.

It uses three techniques to assess the ‘pro-poorness’ of multidimensional poverty reduction. The analysis of changes in multidimensional poverty draws on the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) and related destitution measure in 34 countries and 338 sub-national regions, covering 2.5 billion people, for which there is a recent MPI estimation and comparable Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) dataset across time.

First, it assesses overall changes in poverty and its incidence and intensity, and compares this with changes in $1.90 poverty.

Next, utilising the property of subgroup decomposability, it examines changes in the MPI and its consistent sub-indices over time across urban-rural regions, sub-national regions and ethnic groups. The decomposition analysis identifies relevant national patterns, including those in which the pace of poverty reduction is higher for the poorest subgroups.

Finally, the paper analyses the dynamics of a strict subset of the poor, who are identified as ‘destitute’ using a more extreme deprivation cut-off vector, and studies relative rates of reduction of destitution and poverty by country and region.

This extensive empirical analysis illustrates how to assess the extent and patterns of reduction of multidimensional poverty, as well as whether it is inclusive or whether some people or groups are left behind. Naturally, some further research questions emerge.

Sabina Alkire, José Manuel Roche and Ana Vaz (2017) ‘Changes Over Time in Multidimensional Poverty: Methodology and Results for 34 Countries’ in World Development, doi: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2017.01.011