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Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative


"To advance freedoms and human flourishing through systematic coordinated research and challenging action"

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.

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, wellbeing and inequality. These measures go beyond traditional one-dimensional approaches to poverty measurement, to incorporate dimensions such as health, education, living standards, quality of work and more innovative dimensions.
  • Improving data on poverty. OPHI has developed tools 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.
  • Impacting policy. OPHI's methodologies are rapidly being adopted by policy-makers, including the United Nations Development Programme’s flagship Human Development Report (who adopted OPHI's global Multidimensional Poverty Index – MPI – in 2010) and national governments such as 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.

OPHI's work is grounded in Amartya Sen's capability approach. OPHI works to implement this approach by creating real tools that inform policies to reduce poverty.

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

Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative
Oxford Department of International Development
University of Oxford
Queen Elizabeth House
3 Mansfield Road
Oxford OX1 3TB, UK

Tel: +44 (0) 1865 271911

Photo: J Jewell/OPHI

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International Development: increasing well-being and reducing inequality in global society