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Job Title: Director, OPHIContact Details: Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI) Oxford Department of International Development Queen Elizabeth House (QEH), University of Oxford Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TB, UK Tel +44 1865


Sabina Alkire directs the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), a research centre within the Department of International Development, University of Oxford. From January she is also the Oliver T. Carr Professor and Professor of Economics and International Affairs at George Washington University (part time until 2016). She also continues as research collaborator of the Harvard Global Equity Initiative at Harvard University. Her research interests and publications include multidimensional poverty measurement and analysis, welfare economics, the capability approach, the measurement of freedoms and human development. She holds a DPhil in Economics from the University of Oxford.

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Magdalen College, University of Oxford 1999 D.Phil. in Economics Thesis: “Operationalizing Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach to Human Development: A Framework for Identifying ‘Valuable’ Capabilities” 1995 M.Sc. in Economics for Development (Webb Medley Prize) Thesis: “The Full or Minimally Decent Life: Empiricization of Sen’s Capabilities Approach in Poverty Measurement” 1994 Thesis in MPhil in Christian Political Ethics Thesis: “The Concept of Poverty Alleviation in the World Bank since 1990: A Theological Analysis” 1992 Diploma of Theology (Distinction in Islam) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 1989 Bachelors of Arts in Sociology Cognate: Pre-Medical Studies

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Selected Publications


Multidimensional Poverty Measurement and Analysis: A Counting Approach,” with Paola Ballon, James Foster, Jose Manuel Roche, Maria Emma Santos, and Suman Seth (OUP, forthcoming 2014).

“Multidimensional Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa: Levels and Trends,” with Bouba Housseini. OPHI Working Paper 81, 2014.

“Social Isolation and its Relationship to Multidimensional Poverty,” with Kim Samuel, John Hammock, China Mills and Diego Zavaleta. OPHI Working Paper 80, 2014.

“Identifying the Poorest People and Groups: Strategies Using the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index,” with Jose Manuel Roche, Suman Seth and Andy Sumner. OPHI Working Paper 78, 2014.

“Did Poverty Reduction Reach the Poorest of the Poor? Assessment Methods in the Counting Approach,” with Suman Seth. OPHI Working Paper 77, 2014.

“Measuring Chronic Multidimensional Poverty: A Counting Approach,” with Mauricio Apablaza, Satya R. Chakravarty and Gaston Yalonetzky. OPHI Working Paper 75, 2014.

“Mobilising the Household Data Required to Progress Towards the SDGs,” with Emma Samman. OPHI Working Paper 72, Oxford University, 2014. Also published as SDSN Briefing Paper, September 2014.

“Measuring and Decomposing Inequality among the Multidimensionally Poor Using Ordinal Data: A Counting Approach,” with Suman Seth. OPHI Working Paper 68, 2014.

“Towards Frequent and Accurate Poverty Data.” OPHI Research in Progress 43a. Forthcoming as OPHI Working Paper 73, Oxford University, 2014.

“Measuring Destitution in Developing Countries: An Ordinal Approach for Identifying Linked Subset of Multidimensionally Poor,” with Adriana Conconi and Suman Seth. OPHI Research in Progress 42a, 2014.

“Multidimensional Poverty Dynamics: Methodology and Results for 34 Countries,” with Jose Roche and Ana Vaz. OPHI Research in Progress Paper 41a, 2014.

“Multidimensional Poverty Measurement for EU-SILC Countries,” with Mauricio Apablaza. OPHI Research in Progress 36b, 2014, and an updated version OPHI Research in Progress 36c.


“Multidimensional Poverty and the Post-2015 MDGs,” with Andy Sumner, 2013. Published in Development, 2013, 56(1) 46-51.

Where do the World’s Multidimensionally Poor People Live?,” with José Manuel Roche and Andy Sumner. OPHI Working Paper 61, 2013.

“Multidimensional Poverty Reduction in India between 1999 and 2006: Where and How?,” with Suman Seth. OPHI Working paper 60, 2013.

Measuring Acute Poverty in the Developing World: Robustness and Scope of the Multidimensional Poverty Index,” with Maria Emma Santos. Published in World Development 59 (2014) 251-274. An earlier, working paper version is published as OPHI Working Paper 59, 2013.

The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index“, with Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Amber Peterman, Agnes R. Quisumbing, Greg Seymour and Ana Vaz. Published in World Development 52 (2013) 71-91, also published as OPHI Working paper 58, 2013.


Selecting a Targeting Method to Identify BPL Households in India,” with Suman Seth. Published in Social Indicators Research 112 (2) 2012, pp. 417-446. Also published as OPHI Working Paper 53, 2012.

An Extensive Analysis of GNH Index,” with Karma Ura, Tshoki Zangmo and Karma Wangdi. Centre for Bhutan Studies, 2012.

“Identifying BPL households: A comparison of methods,” with Suman Seth  in Economic and Political Weekly, 48 (2), 49 – 57, January 12, 2013, also published as OPHI Working Paper 54, 2012.

“Beyond Headcount: The Alkire-Foster Approach to Multidimensional Child Poverty Measurement,” with José Manuel Roche in Ortiz, Moreira Daniels and Engilbertsdottir eds, Child Poverty and Inequality: New Perspectives, p 18-22. New York: UNICEF, 2012.

“Case study: Bhutan Gross National Happiness and the GNH index,” with Karma Ura and Tshoki Zangmo in Helliwell, Layard and Sachs, eds, World Happiness Report , p 108-147. New York: Colombia University, 2012.

GNH and the GNH Index: A Short Guide to Gross National Happiness Index,” with Karma Ura and Tshoki Zangmo. Centre for Bhutan Studies Publication. 2012.

“Beyond headcount: measures that reflect the breadth and components of child poverty,” with José Manuel Roche in Minujin and Nandy eds,  Global child poverty and well-being:Measurement, concepts, policy and action, p 103-134. Bristol: Policy Press, 2012, also published as OPHI Working Paper 45.


Counting and Multidimensional Poverty Measurement,” with James Foster in Journal of Public Economics, 95(7–8), p 476–487. 2011

Understandings and Misunderstandings of Multidimensional Poverty Measurement,” with James Foster in Journal of Economic Inequality, 9, 2, p 289-314. 2011.

Where did Identification Go?” with James Foster and Maria Emma Santos in Journal of Economic Inequality, 9, 3, p 501-505. 2011.

“Multidimensional Poverty and its Discontents,” in Measure for Measure: How well do we measure development? Proceedings of the 8th AFD/EUDN Conference, p 53-96. Paris: AFD, 2011.

“Acute Multidimensional Poverty: A new index for developing countries,” with Maria Emma Santos. OPHI Working Paper 38, UNDP HDRO Background Paper 2010/11


“Designing the Inequality-Adjusted Human Development Index,” with James Foster. OPHI Working Paper 37 and UNDP HDRO Background Paper 2010/28.

“Human Development: Definitions, Critiques, and Related Concepts.” OPHI Working Paper 36 and UNDP HDRO Background Paper 2010/01.

Development: A Misconceived Theory Can Kill,” in Morris, Christopher W. Amartya Sen: Contemporary Philosophy in Focus, p 191-120. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.


“Developing the Equality Measurement Framework: selecting the indicators. Research report: 31,” with F. Bastagli, T. Burchardt, D. Clark, H. Holder, S. Ibrahim, M. Munoz, P. Terrazas, T. Tsang, and P. Vizard. Manchester: Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2009.

The Capability Approach as a Development Paradigm,” in Chiappero-Martinetti, Enrica ed., Debating Global Society: Reach and Limits of the Capability Approach. Milan: Feltrinelli Foundation, 2009.

A Normative Framework for Development,” with Séverine Deneulin in Deneulin, Séverine and Lila Shahani eds, An Introduction to the Human Development and Capability Approach: Freedom and Agency, p 3-21. UK, USA and Canada: Earthscan and International Development Research Centre, 2009.

The Human Development and Capability Approach,” with Séverine Deneulin, in Deneulin, Séverine and Lila Shahani eds, An Introduction to the Human Development and Capability Approach: Freedom and Agency, p 22-48. UK, USA and Canada: Earthscan and International Development Research Centre, 2009.

Poverty and Inequality Measurement,” with Maria Emma Santos in Deneulin, Séverine and Lila Shahani eds, An Introduction to the Human Development and Capability Approach: Freedom and Agency, p 121-161. UK, USA and Canada: Earthscan and International Development Research Centre, 2009.

Counting and Multidimensional Poverty,” with James Foster, in von Braun, Joachim, Vargas Hill, Ruth and Rajul Pandya-Lorch eds, The Poorest and Hungry: Assessment, Analysis and Actions, p 77-90. Washington DC: International Food Policy Research Institute, 2009.

“Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty in China: Estimation and Policy Implications,” with Wang Xiaolin, Chinese Rural Economy, 12, 4-10. 2009.

“Determining BPL Status: Some Methodological Improvements,” with Suman Seth, The Indian Journal of Human Development, 2 (2), 407-424. July-December, 2009.


“Measuring Multidimensional Poverty in India,” with Suman Seth. OPHI Working Paper 15, 2008. (Forthcoming in Social Indicators Research.)

Concepts and Measures of Agency,” in Basu, Kaushik and Ravi Kanbur eds, Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya Sen. Volume I: Ethics, Welfare and Measurement, p 455-474. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

“Choosing Dimensions: The Capability Approach and Multidimensional Poverty,” in Kakwani, Nanak and Jaques Silber eds, The Many Dimensions of Poverty, p 89-119. Basingstoke: Palgrave-MacMillan, 2008.

The Capability Approach: Concepts, Measures and Applications, co-edited with Flavio Comim and Mozaffar Qizilbash eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

“Introduction,” with Flavio Comim and Mozaffar Qizilbash in co-edited with Flavio Comim and Mozaffar Qizilbash eds, The Capability Approach: Concepts, Measures and Applications, p 1-25. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

“Using the Capability Approach: Prospective and Evaluative Analyses,” in co-edited with Flavio Comim and Mozaffar Qizilbash eds, The Capability Approach: Concepts, Measures and Applications, p 26-50. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.


“Winning Ideas: Lessons from Free Market Economics” with Angus Ritchie. OPHI Working paper 6, 2007.

“The Missing Dimensions of Poverty Data: Introduction to the Special Issue,” in Oxford Development Studies, 35 (4), 347-359. 2007.

“Agency and empowerment: A Proposal for Internationally Comparable Indicators,” with Solava Ibrahim in Oxford Development Studies, 35 (4), 379-403. 2007.

“Measuring Freedoms Alongside Well-Being,” in Gough, Ian and J Allister McGregor eds, Well-Being in Developing Countries: New Approaches and Research Strategies, p 93-108. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.


“Public Debate and Value Construction in Sen’s Approach,” in Kaufman, Alexander ed. Capabilities Equality: Basic Issues and Problems, p 133-154. London: Routledge, 2006.

“Needs and Capabilities,” in Reader, Soran ed., The Philosophy of Need, Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement, 80, 229-252. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Medical Exceptionalism in International Migration: Should Doctors and Nurses be Treated Differently?” with Lincoln Chen, in Tomas, Kristof and Joakim Palme eds, Globalizing Migration Regimes, p 100-117. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006.

“Structural Injustice and Democratic Practice: The Trajectory in Sen’s Writings,” in Deneulin, Séverine Nebel, Mathias and Nicholas Sagovsky eds, Transforming Unjust Structures: The Capability Approach, p 47-62. Dordrecht: Springer, 2006.

“Religion and Development,” in Clark, David Alexander ed., The Elgar Companion to Development Studies, p 502-510. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2006.


“Subjective Quantitative Studies of Human Agency,” Social Indicators Research, 74 (1), 217-260. October, 2005.

Valuing Freedoms: Sen’s Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

“Why the Capability Approach?” Journal of Human Development, 6 (1), 115-135. March, 2005.


“Global Health and Moral Values,” with Lincoln Chen, The Lancet, 364 (9439), 1069-1074. September, 2004.

“The Role of External Actors,” in Rao, Vidjayendra and Michael Walton eds, Culture and Public Action: A Cross-Disciplinary Dialogue on Development Policy, p 185-209. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004.


“Concepts of Human Security,” in Chen, Lincoln C, Fukuda-Parr, Sakiko and Ellen Seidensticker eds, Human Insecurity in a Global World, p 15-40. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003.


“Dimensions of Human Development,” World Development, 30 (2), 181-205. February, 2002.

“Global Citizenship and Common Values,” in Dower, Nigel and John Williams eds, Global Citizenship: A Critical Reader. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2002.

“Individual Motivation, its Nature, Determinants and Consequences for within Group Behaviour,” with Séverine Deneulin, p 51-75, in Heyer, Judith, Stewart, Frances and Rosemary Thorp, eds, Group Motivation and Development: Is the Market Destroying Cooperation?, WIDER Studies in Development Economics, p 51-73. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.


“The Basic Dimensions of Human Flourishing: A Comparison of Accounts,” in Biggar, Nigel and Rufus Black eds, The Revival of Natural Law, p 73-110. Aldershot: Ashgate. 2001.


A Practical Reasoning Theory of Development Ethics: Furthering the Capabilities Approach,” with Rufus Black, Journal of International Development, 9 (2), 263-279. April, 1997.


“Farmers’ Access to Information and its Impact on Technology Adoption in NWFP, Pakistan,” co-author, Journal of Rural Development and Administration XXIV. 1992.

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Curriculum Vitae

Alkire CV

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