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Normative Issues in Multidimensional Poverty Measurement

   Sabina Alkire

  • Introduction to normative choices and their justification.
  • In producing your own multidimensional poverty measure there are six main choices that you have to carefully have to consider.
  • Important choices: 1) the unit of analysis, 2) the dimensions, 3) the indicators of dimensions, 4) the deprivation cut-off, 5) the weights and their structure, and 6) the poverty cut-off.
  • The most important thing to be clear about is the purpose of your measure, as this will guide you in the decisions listed above.

AF methodology is a general framework. Within this framework you have to make very important decision which will form your poverty measure, and it is therefore essential to pay thorough analysis to this part of your multidimensional poverty measure. These choices lie 100%. with the people who implement the poverty measure and are not dictated by the Alkire Foster method.

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Guide to the video

00:00 Introduction .

01:58 A brief example of a unidimensional income poverty measure.

03:55 The most important aspect to be clear about is the purpose of your measure.

Part 1: Essential Normative Choices

05:27 Overview of the essential normative choices.

06:50 Often choices are guided by unchangeable constraints, such as for example, data.

11:21 A discussion about the purpose of the measure, its importance and influence on your normative choices.

13:48 Choosing the unit of analysis.

19:24 Choosing dimensions, and how to justify the chosen dimensions?

21:43 Sen’s criteria for dimensions.

23:45 A summary of how researcher choose dimensions (see complete literature review in Alkire (2008)). Note that it is important to explore all possible dimensions to justify your choice afterwards. Link to Sarkozy Commission

32:00 A list of often observed dimensions in applied human development research (Alkire (2002), Ranis, G. Stewart, F. and Samman (2006)).The same dimensions are chosen again and again.

35:15 Choosing indicators.

40:08 Choosing indicators and deprivation cut-offs using the example of participatory work with Bhutan’s GNH Index

43:54  Choosing the weights, presentation of different methods (normative, statistical and axiomatic). The axiomatic approach is explained in detail using the example of CONEVAL in Mexico

52.10 Choosing weights, the important thing is to make your choices explicit and to justify them (Sen)

63:00 Technical interruption in video

Part 2: Different Approaches to Making Your Normative Choices

66:29 Different types of approaches to defining, for example, weights: expert opinion, cardinal weights, survey weights

69:40 Summary, the debate about the normative decisions in multidimensional poverty measures.

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Key readings covered in these lectures

Alkire, S. (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

Alkire, S. (2002).Dimensions of Human Development. World Development. Vol. 30 (2): pp. 181-205.

Ranis, G. Stewart, F. and Samman (2006). Human Development: Beyond the Human Development Index. Journal of Human Development.Vol. 7 (3).

Reading List


Related Training Materials

The Politics of Multidimensional Poverty (implementing a multidimensional poverty measure in a political setting national or international will unavoidably influence some of the normative choices)

Case Study Examples - International MPI, and National Multidimensional Poverty Measures for Mexico (2009) and Colombia (2011)