OPHI In Media
- OPHI researcher takes part in Voice of Russia discussion on poverty
- OPHI’s John Hammock appears on the front page of El País
- Colombia’s President announces fall in multidimensional poverty
- Global MPI 2013 attracts attention around the world
- Nepal’s reduction in MPI poverty makes the headlines
- Kristeligt Dagblad publishes Alkire interview
- Colombia using MPI to inform social policies, Zavaleta tells ‘Portfolio’
- World Bank should think carefully about how it defines and targets poverty, Alkire says
- OPHI researcher contributes to IRIN feature on urban poverty
- The Economy of Gross National Happiness ~ Sabina Alkire
- The advantages of MPI ~ Hindustan Times
- OPHI Director in Pakistan ~ Associated Press
- Middle-income countries leave their poorest behind ~ Reuters
- Gap between rich and poor is still growing, study finds ~ The Independent
- Igual de desiguales ~ or “Equally unequal”
- Why we need new measures of progress
- Two OPHI publications in top 10 reads for 2010
- Happiness is a key indicator, but it’s not the only one
- Good ideas for bad times
- The Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers
- Poverty is about more than a lack of money
- OPHI Director interviewed by The Economist
- Oxford economists draw up poverty meter
OPHI researcher takes part in Voice of Russia discussion on poverty
OPHI Research Officer José Manuel Roche was one of the guests on a Voice of Russia panel discussion on ‘Poverty: living below the line’ on 8 May.
With thousands of people across the UK taking part in the ‘Live Below the Line’ challenge, to eat for a week on just five pounds (US$7.74), the radio programme looked at how poverty is defined around the world and the difficulties involved in measuring it.
Alongside Roche on the panel were Elisha London, UK Country Director for the Global Poverty Project, which launched the ‘Live Below the Line’ initiative, and Syed Rahman Raju, an academic at Dhaka’s Daffodil University who has written extensively on food security in Bangladesh.
Roche drew attention to the difficulties of measuring poverty according to income alone, from the disparities in prices between countries, regions, and urban and rural contexts, to the need to take into account the effect of a consumer’s knowledge and education on their buying decisions, and the lack of goods to buy in areas affected by natural disasters such as drought.
Voice of Russia is the Russian government’s international radio broadcasting service, and broadcasts globally to an audience of around 109 million. You can listen to a recording of the full half-hour discussion here.
OPHI’s John Hammock appears on the front page of El País
OPHI Co-Founder and Research Associate John Hammock has appeared in the Spanish newspaper El País as part of a front-page interview with the President of Colombia, written by the Editor-in-Chief, Javier Moreno.
Hammock was present at an event at which President Juan Manuel Santos announced a reduction in multidimensional poverty, two years after his government implemented a national Multidimensional Poverty Index (the MPI-Colombia) that uses the Alkire Foster method (see ‘Colombia’s President announces fall in multidimensional poverty’).
Hammock explained to the press and many senior government officials at the event how OPHI had worked with the Colombian government to develop the index, which has dimensions and indicators devised by the government to meet its specific needs and public policy priorities in order to inform poverty reduction strategies.
You can read the full article in Spanish here.
Colombia’s President announces fall in multidimensional poverty
Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has announced a fall in multidimensional poverty, two years after his government implemented a national Multidimensional Poverty Index (the MPI-Colombia) that uses the Alkire Foster method.
OPHI began working with the Colombian government’s Ministry of Planning in 2010 to construct the new measure, which underlies firm and binding targets to close the country’s multidimensional poverty gaps. The dimensions and indicators were devised by Colombia to meet its specific needs and public policy priorities in order to inform poverty reduction strategies.
Based on national statistics, the MPI-Colombia showed a drop in multidimensional poverty, from 29.4% in 2011 to 27% in 2012. President Santos said his government had also reduced the income poverty rate from 34.1% to 32.7% in two years, lifting some 1.7 million people out of poverty.
OPHI Co-Founder and Research Associate John Hammock took part in the meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Poverty Coordinating Committee where the results were announced. The news was widely covered in the media, both in Colombia (see El Tiempo, El Espectador, La República, Portafolio, El Universal, Semana) and further afield; for example in China (see Xinhua and China Daily).
Hammock earlier gave a presentation on multidimensional poverty measures at the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in Managua, Nicaragua, which will host a Spanish-language intensive training course to be run by OPHI from 30 August – 7 September 2013.
Colombia is one of a number of countries to have implemented a multidimensional measure that builds on OPHI’s research (for others see here). Building on the flexibility inherent in the AF method, the MPI-Colombia assesses the broader social and health-related aspects of poverty in five dimensions:
- Household education conditions;
- Childhood and youth conditions;
- Access to household utilities and living conditions.
The five dimensions are equally weighted and use 15 indicators. Find out more.
Global MPI 2013 attracts attention around the world
OPHI’s analyses of the global MPI figures published in UNDP’s Human Development Report 2013 have been attracting attention around the world. See below for selected coverage.
Argentina – La Nacion
Brazil – Terra.com
Georgia – The Messenger
New Zealand – NZweek
Nigeria – ConnectNigeria.com
Rwanda – News of Rwanda
Singapore – Economy Watch
Sweden – Dagen
Thailand – Financial Express
Nepal’s reduction in MPI poverty makes the headlines
Nepal’s eye-catching reduction in multidimensional poverty, as measured by the global MPI and announced in Kathmandu by OPHI Director Sabina Alkire, has been reported by media including the Himalayan Times and the Kathmandu Post.
Alkire presented the concept and methodology of the MPI at an event organised by the UN Development Programme following the launch of UNDP’s flagship Human Development Report 2013. The MPI was developed by OPHI with UNDP for publication in the HDR, and has featured in the report since 2010.
‘Experts today hailed the encouraging trend of poverty reduction in the country,’ said the article in Nepal’s Himalayan Times, while the Kathmandu Post picked up on regional disparities, reporting that ‘The proportion of population living under extreme poverty is the highest — 29.2 percent — in the Mid-Western Development Region.’
For more information on Nepal’s dramatic reduction in multidimensional poverty, see the OPHI briefing ‘How Multidimensional Poverty went down: Dynamics and Comparisons’.
Kristeligt Dagblad publishes Alkire interview
Danish newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad has published an interview with OPHI Director Sabina Alkire on multidimensional poverty measurement.
The article describes how the Alkire Foster method can be used to capture different dimensions of poverty, and makes it possible to identify poor people living in middle-income countries.
“Our method demonstrates that there is no automatic link between economic growth and poverty eradication. India, for example, had a much higher economic growth than Bangladesh, but in terms of social indicators, Bangladesh has been more effective in reducing poverty, ” Alkire told the newspaper.
You can read the article in Danish here.
Colombia using MPI to inform social policies, Zavaleta tells ‘Portfolio’
Colombia has shown a strong commitment to using the results of a multidimensional poverty measure to set goals for social policies, OPHI Research Officer Diego Zavaleta has told the economic newspaper ‘Portfolio’ in an interview.
Government ministries have used the data generated by Colombia’s Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) to inform public policies and programmes such as ‘Más Familias en Acción’ (‘More Families in Action’) and ‘Red Unidos’ (‘Red States’), because it gives a more complete picture of who is poor and how they are deprived, Zavaleta said.
In 2011, the Government of Colombia adopted a national MPI which assesses social and health-related aspects of poverty in five dimensions. Each of the indicators in the national MPI reflects the goals and targets of Colombia’s pioneering poverty-reduction strategy.
It is a powerful example of how the Alkire Foster method of multidimensional measurement can inform such strategies and help to create a clear system of accountabiliy.
“The methodology is adjustable, so you can change the variables and relevant topics of analysis, depending on the interests of each nation,” Zavaleta told ‘Portfolio’.
You can read the full interview, in Spanish, here.
World Bank should think carefully about how it defines and targets poverty, Alkire says
OPHI Director Sabina Alkire has called for the World Bank to think carefully about how it defines and targets poverty, in an article on the strategy set out by the bank’s new president, Jim Yong Kim.
Kim has voiced his desire to end poverty and build a ‘solutions bank’, but has not yet set targets or given details on how the bank will go about this. In an article by the Bretton Woods Project, a watchdog which scrutinises the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Alkire welcomed Kim’s determination to end absolute poverty, but expressed her concern about other aspects of poverty that are missed by a focus on income.
“I’m hoping that the World Bank will think carefully about how it defines and targets poverty, so that its measures support seamless work towards eradicating deprivations in education, health, nutrition, assets, services and livelihoods, as well as in income,” she said.
The article, ‘Kim’s World Bank strategy: real change or “PR exercise”?’, refers to the emerging data from countries around the world which were the focus of the workshop held last month by OPHI and the University of Göttingen, entitled ‘Dynamic Comparison between Multidimensional Poverty and Monetary Poverty’.
“For each country, we compared multidimensional poverty with monetary poverty using the same dataset,” Alkire explained.
“When the multidimensional measure did not include income as an indicator, 40 per cent to 80 per cent of multidimensionally poor people were not identified as income poor (the headcounts of poor persons matched for both income and multidimensional poverty). When each measure focused on the poorest of the poor, the mismatch between definitions of poverty was higher.
“This mismatch needs to be explored as the World Bank considers what targets to set itself to best achieve its goal of ending poverty.” Read more.
OPHI researcher contributes to IRIN feature on urban poverty
OPHI Research Officer José Manuel Roche has contributed to a feature on urban poverty published by IRIN, the UN’s humanitarian news and analysis service.
The feature, ‘How to Measure Urban Poverty’, looks at the fact that poverty is increasingly an urban phenomenon, and at the difficulties involved in defining poverty in an urban context. It examines different methods of measuring urban poverty, including income measures such as the international poverty standard, and multdimensional measures such as the MPI.
“It is difficult to compare urban and rural poverty with income measures,” said Roche. “With income measurements, rural poverty would appear too high compared to urban poverty… There are aspects of well-being, such as employment or violence, that are not captured and not included in the household surveys.”
The Economy of Gross National Happiness ~ Sabina Alkire
3 April 2012 by Sabina Alkire, Project Syndicate
Following the UN Meeting on Happiness and Wellbeing on 2 April, Sabina Alkire, OPHI’s Director writes that “Bhutan’s example gives the international community a unique opportunity to reconsider the path of economics in order to facilitate human flourishing on a shared planet.”
“Economics is poised to change, but how is not yet clear,” she writes in an op-ed following the energetic discussions on how to develop a new economic paradigm. “What is clear is that moral and intellectual leadership is essential. Bhutan’s new commission provides an invaluable opportunity to begin constructing a roadmap for a new multidimensional model of sustainable welfare economics, founded in human well-being.” Read the article.
The advantages of MPI ~ Hindustan Times
1 April 2012, by Prahlad Shekhawat, Hindustan Times
“The multidimensional poverty indicators developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative and accepted by the Human Development Report, 2011, are perhaps the most reliable measures developed so far,” says Prahlad Shekhawat in his op-ed for the Indian newspaper. “They include: years of schooling, child enrolment, mortality (any age), nutrition, electricity, sanitation, drinking water, flooring, cooking fuel and asset ownership.”
“These indicators are desirable, having been applied by an independent international agency, and being comprehensive measures that can either form a single index or can be disaggregated into separate dimensions. Policy makers can thus figure which dimension or dimensions is/are most responsible for poverty and deserve special attention” he adds. Read article.
OPHI Director in Pakistan ~ Associated Press
14th Dec 2011, Associated Press Pakistan
Keynote Speaker, Dr Sabina Alkire of the Oxford University’s Poverty and Human Development Initiative said the measurement of poverty needs to take into account multi-faceted nature of deprivations faced by the poor.
She shared the salient findings of the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2011 with particular reference to South Asia, which was earlier launched by the UNDP Human Development Report Office. Read more
Middle-income countries leave their poorest behind ~ Reuters
7th Dec 2011, by Alex Whiting, Reuters Alert Net
The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is the first international measure to look at the intensity of poverty – the number of deprivations that each person faces at the same time. “The MPI reveals some dramatic disparities in the rates and intensity of poverty within countries, usually hidden by national averages. Hopefully, these findings will help policymakers to focus on delivering some benefits of growth to the poorest.” Jose Manuel Roche, research officer at OPHI, said. Read more
Gap between rich and poor is still growing, study finds ~ The Independent
7th Dec 2011, by Nina Lakhani, The Independent
The Oxford University study, analysed data from 109 countries with a combined population of 5.3 billion – 72 per cent of the planet’s total and found “startlingly wide” disparities within some nations. Read more
Igual de desiguales ~ or “Equally unequal”
10th September 2011, Igual de desiguales (“Equally unequal”)
Colombia’s influential magazine Semana has written on the new Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI-Colombia), launched by the country’s President, Juan Manuel Santos, in August 2011. Developed using an innovative adaptation of a technique for measuring poverty and wellbeing created by OPHI, the MPI-Colombia is tied to firm targets to close the country’s poverty gaps. Read more.
The groundbreaking new measure was also covered by Reuters (AlertNet) “Colombia adopts new poverty index measure” and by Jonathan Glennie in the UK’s Guardian newspaper “Colombia’s new index to measure poverty merits a cautious welcome“. Corrections to some factual errors in the piece appear below in the comments section.
Why we need new measures of progress
19th May 2011, by Sabina Alkire, OPHI Director in The Economist
Sabina Alkire, OPHI’s Director, has contributed to an Economist online debate on the need for new measures of economic and social progress. Joining the discussion begun by Richard Layard and Paul Ormerod, her post puts forward OPHI’s view of why new – multidimensional – measures of wellbeing are not only necessary, but also long overdue. The comment is on the right-hand side of the page – just scroll down a little to see it: Economist Happiness debate.
Two OPHI publications in top 10 reads for 2010
22nd December, by Institute of Development Studies (IDS) Staff, Development Horizons by Lawrence Haddad
Sabina Alkire and Emma Maria Santos “Acute Multidimensional Poverty: A New Index for Developing Countries,” OPHI Working Paper 38, is described by Keetie Roelen as ‘mindboggling’. Martin Greeley in turn lists Sabina Alkire’s OPHI Working Paper 36 “Human Development: Definitions, Critiques, and Related Concepts” (Development Research Paper 2010/01) as one of the top reads for the year. Read more
Happiness is a key indicator, but it’s not the only one
7th December 2010, by Sabina Alkire, The Guardian
Sabina Alkire’s article engages on the current debate on the formulation of a UK Happiness Index. Happiness, she says, is a key indicator but it’s not the only one. A serious measure of well-being would also need to include health, education and other factors. Read more
Good ideas for bad times
1st December 2010, by Charles Kenny, New America Foundation
In what sometimes looked like the worst of times, it was actually the best of times for ideas — and these ideas will shape how the world recovers in the years to come. This year produced a serious contender, the Multidimensional Poverty Index developed by Sabina Alkire, Maria Emma Santos, and James Foster for the UNDP. Read more
The Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers
29th November 2010, Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy presents a unique portrait of 2010′s global marketplace of ideas and the thinkers who make them. OPHI Director Sabina Alkire has been listed as one of the top 100 thinkers for her work on multidimensional poverty. Read more
Poverty is about more than a lack of money
5 November 2010, The Globe and Mail, by Rohinton Medhora
When is the person with more money poorer than the person with less money? This isn’t an ancient Greek riddle or the beginning of an African folk tale. It’s a question the United Nations Development Program has tried to answer in this year’s Human Development Report, released Thursday. In trying to understand what being poor really means, the report uses a new index that Canada helped create – the Multidimensional Poverty Index – to gather data on 10 indicators, ranging from child mortality and nutrition levels to years of schooling and access to electricity, clean water and proper flooring. Read more
OPHI Director interviewed by The Economist
30 July 2010, The Economist
Sabina Alkire on poverty indexes. The director of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative discusses a new tool to measure poverty. Listen to audio interview with Sabina Alkire. See also Economist article ‘Many headed beast.’
Oxford economists draw up poverty meter
2 July 2010, Financial Times, by Jude Webber
Economists have quarrelled for centuries about the true definition of wealth. Perhaps a more pertinent question, in these globally troubled times as more people risk sliding into poverty, is the one they are asking now: what is the best measure of poverty? Read more