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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.

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).

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World leaders show how integrated policies to fight poverty need multidimensional measures During the United Nations summit to agree a historic new global development agenda, twenty eminent speakers stressed the importance of adopting a multidimensional approach to measuring and eradicating poverty at the national and global levels. Read more

Towards a Multidimensional Poverty Index for Germany A new study published in the OPHI working paper series proposes a multidimensional poverty index (MPI) for Germany to reveal the overlapping disadvantages poor people can face across different areas of life. Read more

Blog: Income and Multidimensional Poverty – Fighting poverty in all its dimensions In this blog post, OPHI Director Sabina Alkire discusses how global and national measures of multidimensional poverty can energise a coordinated, effective and multi-sectoral attack on poverty in all its dimensions, helping to measure target 1.2 of the Sustainable Development Goals. 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