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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

New Research in Progress paper analyses multidimensional poverty dynamics The paper describes changes in the multidimensional poverty index (MPI) and their significance for 30 countries and 338 sub-national regions. Read more

New OPHI working paper investigates meaning of psychological agency Elise Klein uses data gathered in Bamako, Mali to develop a definition of psychological agency. Read more

22 governments participate in high-level meeting of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN) in Berlin At the annual meeting of the network, the participants endorsed the establishment of an MPI 2015+ measure of extreme poverty in the post-2015 development context. Read more

Measuring Multidimensional Poverty in Latin America: Previous Experience and the Way Forward This paper states the need to design a multidimensional poverty index for the Latin America region (LA-MPI) that can monitor poverty trends in a cross-country comparable way, yet is also relevant to the particular regional context. Read more

Measuring Conjoint Vulnerabilities in Italy: An Asset-Based Approach This paper uses an asset-based approach, focusing on the resources that individuals and households can draw upon to reduce economic vulnerability and strengthen their resilience. 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