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About

What does the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) do?

The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) is an economic research centre within the Oxford Department of International Development at the University of Oxford. Established in 2007, the centre is led by Sabina Alkire.

OPHI aims to build and advance a more systematic methodological and economic framework for reducing multidimensional poverty, grounded in people’s experiences and values. OPHI works towards this by:

  • Broadening poverty measurement. OPHI develops and implements multi-dimensional measures of poverty, wellbeing and inequality. These measures go beyond traditional one-dimensional approaches to incorporate dimensions such as health, education, living standards, quality of work and more innovative dimensions.
  • 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.

  • Impacting policy. OPHI’s methodologies have been adopted by policy makers, including national governments and the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report.

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.

OPHI’s team members are involved in a wide range of activities and collaborations around the world, including survey design and testing, quantitative and qualitative data collection, training and mentoring, and advising policy makers.

Where can you find out more about OPHI’s work?

OPHI holds a seminar series, international workshops and organises special events with key figures.

As well as ongoing collaborations with universities, research networks, development agencies, governments and international organisations, OPHI also works with these organisations on specific projects around the world. View our world map to learn more about where we work.

OPHI is advised by Professor Sudhir Anand, Sir Tony Atkinson and Professor Amartya Sen. OPHI emerged from and is actively involved in the Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA).

OPHI Brochure 2010 [pdf], includes an overview, research, workshops and teaching activities.

OPHI gratefully acknowledges support from the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)/(DFID) Joint Scheme, Robertson Foundation, UNICEF N’Djamena Chad Country Office, Praus, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), John Fell Oxford University Press (OUP) Research Fund, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report Office, national UNDP and UNICEF offices, and private benefactors. International Development Research Council (IDRC) of Canada, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), UK Department of International Development (DFID), and AusAID are also recognised for their past support.

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Latest

Pakistan signs agreement to develop a national Multidimensional Poverty Index Pakistan's Ministry of Planning, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and OPHI have launched the process of regularly calculating a new poverty index for Pakistan based on the Alkire Foster method. Read more

OPHI takes part in Effective Cooperation Conference in Mexico City John Hammock will speak at the conference on 16 April 2014 about alternatives to per capita income measures. Read more

Government of Spain calls for the adoption of a multidimensional poverty index post-2015 Spain hopes the statement will contribute to discussions on the post-2015 agenda taking place in Mexico next week. Read more

Measuring and Decomposing Inequality among the Multidimensionally Poor Using Ordinal Data: A Counting Approach A paper by Suman Seth and Sabina Alkire proposes the use of a separate decomposable inequality measure using Demographic Health Survey datasets. Read more

A Counting Multidimensional Poverty Index in Public Policy Context: the case of Colombia A new paper that presents the Colombian Multidimensional Poverty Index (CMPI) for tracking multiple deprivations nationally. Read more

Where do the World's Multidimensionally Poor People Live? This paper considers how the global distribution of multidimensional poverty differs from the global distribution of income poverty, and assesses the sensitivity of findings to widely used (although somewhat arbitrary) country classifications. Read more